For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,(Ephesians 2:8 ESV)
Grace is God’s unmerited favor in Christ. Unmerited favor is not a message reserved for sinners who are about to receive Jesus. Instead, it is as true for the saint in Christ as it is for the sinner. As a believer, God will amplify grace in your life as you absorb and practice the meaning of unmerited. We will briefly examine what unmerited means and how to make it a part of our lives.
We do not deserve or merit God’s kindness to us. Is God obligated to save us? The answer to this question opens the door for understanding grace as unmerited favor. God can be compelled to be kind, good, or gracious to us in at least two significant ways. Firstly, we can do something that obligates a specific response from God. For example, if we work for something, our employer must pay us. That employer cannot hand a paycheck to us and say that paycheck is because he or she is a good man or woman. No, we earned it; we worked for it. Therefore, the employer is obligated to pay us. Similarly, if we have done something that binds God to be kind to us, we can count on those works. But nothing we have done or can do will warrant God’s gifts and blessings (Romans 4:4). His kindness, therefore, is unobligated—unmerited.
Besides our works, our special relationship status can cause someone to be kind or generous to us. In this case, our deserving status hinges on who we are rather than the merit that comes from what we have done. The most glaring example of a deserving status is the father-child relationship. A child, by being a child, need not do anything to earn the father’s love or favor. Again, just as we have no works to merit His favor (unmerited), we have no status on our own to warrant His kindness (undeserved). We cannot lay claim to God’s favor because we are His creatures or because we are humans.
So, God’s grace in its varied expressions is undeserved and unmerited. Why is this truth so critical? It maintains our hearts in the proper posture before God: absolute dependence on Him. Besides the necessary dependence, it prompts unforced and spontaneous praise and thanksgiving to God. Furthermore, it prevents us from becoming full of ourselves and thereby empty of Him—His power is best expressed in weak vessels only.
How does undeserved and unmerited describe the human condition in Christ?
Apply the Word
We are in trouble when we feel or think we no longer need God. Always remember that God’s love and blessings are a gift to us; they are underserved and unmerited.
Thank the Father for His unmerited favor in Christ.