Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
By His death for us on Calvary, Jesus forgave the entire world of sin. God forgave the Jews, the Gentiles, and every person who was not yet born, even down to our day. Forgiveness has been made available to every member of the human family, but there is an appropriate response to be made before God's forgiveness can be ratified on an individual basis. There are certain conditions that must be met in order for the grace of God to be internalized.
When the mortgage crisis had settled in during the financial meltdown, many banking institutions forgave some or all of the debt of some home-owners, and in doing so they sent letters offering mortgage reductions, settlements, or absolution. The home-owners were then required to sign and return those letters, and by so doing the debt forgiveness was ratified.
The same principle applies as it pertains to God's forgiveness. Although debt-forgiveness has been offered freely to all of us, there is an appropriate response needed before it can be ratified in our lives. We would need to "sign and return the letter" stating that we accept God's forgiveness. This signing is accomplished by giving our lives entirely and unreservedly to the Lord Jesus Christ through baptism by immersion, to be molded and fashioned after the Divine similitude, so that "debt forgiveness" would not occur again in the future.
It's not that we may never sin again in our lives, but the relationship that is begun with our Creator will be in forward motion instead of reverse gear, and if peradventure we sin or slip up, we have an advocate with the Father who is looking out for our eternal interest at all times. This sacred truth is echoed by the prophet John. Let's read:
1st John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
However we need to be aware that a cheap form of grace is now being peddled on a broad scale in Christendom, where many Christians believe that they are no longer under the obligation to keep God's commandments. God did not save us from sin so that we can continue to walk contrary to the teachings of His word. The very same Apostle John who writes so profusely on love, warns us of this cheap form of grace. Let's read:
1st John 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
And if we're wondering how Jesus walked, we need only to listen to His own testimony concerning the commandments. Let's read:
John 15:10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.
It is very important for us to respond to God's grace while we have opportunity to do so. One night as we were having Bible studies, a young man who was present decided to leave, since he had a prior appointment with his friends. A friend of his who was also present pleaded with him several times to stay for the duration of the study, but he refused, because he had something "more important" to do. And so he left to go to his appointment, but whilst on his way, he was involved in a fatal accident that took his life immediately without him having a chance to say a prayer. While we cannot say with certainty what his eternal destiny will be, we were all sobered by the experience that made an indelible mark in our memory.
That's why we will close our brief presentation with a scripture that encourages us to avail ourselves of God's grace without delay. Let's read:
Hebrews 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end; 15 While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
We hope that our decisions to access God's grace would be made sooner than later for the admonition applies to every person in every walk of life. "Good night" and God bless!