All redemption was all of God and none of us. It wasn’t a joint effort or partnership. It was the total work of God in Christ on our behalf. The whole payment of the price paid, though, is of no benefit to us, personally, aside from our faith. It needs to be responded to. That means we have to understand the two sides.
God’s side – Man’s side.
Grace side – Faith side.
God’s action, response and what God has done – Man’s action, response, and what man needs to do.
God initiated – Man receives, responds, obeys.
There are two sides to the this truth in the Bible. The grace side and the faith side. We have to understand both sides. Christianity is the total work of God for man, out of which comes the faithful obedience of man for God.
1. Grace is of no benefit to me aside from my faith.
2. Faith will not work in my life unless I understand grace.
Faith is a response to God’s grace. Faith is not just something that makes your prayers work or that allows you to receive things from God. It is a way of life, it is a life of obedience – obediently and diligently responding to God’s grace. This is not to imply we are to sit around and do nothing. There are works under grace. There are responsibilities, obligations, do’s and don’ts under grace. There is a life to be lived. We have to understand, though, that the quality of life and character went in before the name, “Christian”, went on. Now we are to work it out, in practice. For this to happen you must know your spiritual position in Christ, since you have been saved, before you will ever be able to do the practice or act like who you are in Christ. Understanding this keeps you from thinking:
“God is so hard.”
“Being a Christian is so hard.”
“God expects too much.”
“Too much is required of me.”
“Oh, I don’t measure up.”
The truth is that we have to understand grace and faith. Grace always comes first. Grace is the faithful work of God for man, out of which comes faith, which is the faithful work of man for God. You can see these two sides in Ephesians 1 and 6. For example, Ephesians 1:3 says we are blessed. This is our position due to grace. Ephesians 1:16-23 says we have authority. Then you see from this position we are to practice, or live it out. Ephesians 4:1 tells us to walk worthy, and Ephesians 6:10-18 tells us to be strong, stand, resist, and pray. This is our practice, or our faith as a response.