Romans 5:8, “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.”
Ephesians 1:8, “Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;”
Grace is an originator or initiator. God initiated a move toward man, that is grace. God initiated a move to complete a plan for man. All those plans could be called redemption (Romans 3:24). All those plans are to restore back to man what he lost from the fall in the Garden of Eden. God already initiated all the plans to restore man (us). Grace always comes first. Grace comes before faith. God initiated the plan to redeem us, and we simply respond to a completed, already initiated plan. Grace, God’s plan, flowed down first. You cannot receive from God without faith, but you will never walk by faith until you understand grace. WE ORIGINATE NOTHING. New Testament faith is always a response to grace.
This is the opposite of religion. Religion is always man doing a work, offering it up to God for acceptance, and man gets the credit. Christianity is God doing a work and reaching down to man to accept it, and God gets the glory. The worst evil in the world is religion. More people go to hell by religion than any thing else. Religion is also the greatest persecutor of grace.
A religious work is anything that originates with you, with you offering it up to God and you getting the credit rather than responding to what God originated. There is nothing we could do to complete the plan or help Him out, we only respond to or receive the completed plan. Think about all the past tense facts of God’s Word that show us God moved first.
Before we received Jesus, He sent Jesus.
Before we ask to be healed, He sent Jesus to bear our sicknesses.
Before we ask for financial help, He sent Jesus to become poor for our sakes.
Before we ask for deliverance, He sent Jesus to deliver us.
Before the problem or need came, He made Jesus wisdom unto us.
Yes, we say faith moves God’s hand, but you must understand God already moved first in grace before we could add to or mess up His move. That finished work is expressed in facts and promises. Those facts reveal our true spiritual position in Christ. The promises reveal what is potentially available to us to experience. God moved in grace first and now we move in faith as a response. It is like a game of checkers–red checkers (fire) before black checkers (smoke). God always has the red checkers and moves first. We always move second as a response.