People usually follow that up with “I’ve been praying, reading my Bible, going to church, and paying my tithes. I’ve been doing everything the Bible says to do.” What they don’t realize is that when they say that, they’ve just told me why they don’t receive: they think their performance should earn them something from God. This is a misunderstanding of the balance of grace and faith and their relationship to each other.
The word grace basically means unmerited, undeserved favor. It’s important to understand that grace has nothing to do with you earning anything from God. Grace existed long before you ever came to be. To put it simply, grace is God’s part. Faith is your positive response to what God has already provided by grace. In other words, faith is basically your way of saying yes to God’s grace. Faith only appropriates what God has already provided for you. Therefore, faith is your part.
Sometimes we read a passage from Scripture that is so familiar, we don’t stop to think about what it is really saying. In these verses, a profound truth is being declared: we are saved by grace through faith—not one or the other. Think of it this way: Grace is what God does. Faith is what we do. It takes both working together for us to receive salvation, healing, or anything else from God.
Salvation is not dependent on grace alone. If it were, everyone would be saved and going to heaven, because God’s grace is the same toward everyone.
God has already given the gift of salvation to everyone through Jesus. It is by faith that a person receives what Jesus accomplished through His death, burial, and resurrection 2,000 years ago.
In 1 John 2:2, it states that Jesus was the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the sins of the whole world. Jesus didn’t just die for those He knew would accept Him; He died for every sinner who has ever lived on this earth. And He died before you or I ever committed a single sin.
Here is a radical truth that would get me kicked out of most churches: sin is not an issue with God. The Lord isn’t waiting for us to ask Him to forgive us of our sins. The sins of the entire world—past, present, and future—have already been forgiven. Even a man like Adolf Hitler had grace extended to him! Jesus loved Hitler and paid for his sins just as He did for yours and mine. God is no respecter of persons (Rom. 2:11).
God has already done His part; it is now up to you to receive the truth by faith and make it a reality in your life. Amen!
That provision is not based on whether you are reading the Bible enough, praying enough, going to church, or even paying your tithes. Before you ever had a financial need, God created the provision. Before you were sick, God, through grace, provided your healing (1 Pet. 2:24). Before you ever became discouraged, God blessed you with all spiritual blessings (Eph. 1:3). God anticipated every need you could ever have and met those needs through Jesus before you existed. That’s the grace of God.
Jesus hasn’t saved, healed, delivered, or prospered a single person in the last 2,000 years. What God provided by grace 2,000 years ago now becomes a reality when a person mixes their faith with it. Faith appropriates what God has already provided. Faith doesn’t move God; He isn’t the one who is stuck. Faith doesn’t make God do anything. Grace and faith work together, and our part is to accept what God has already done. Grace must be balanced with faith.
And the truth is that you need to put your faith in what God has already done, not in what you do.
God has done His part by giving His Son, Jesus. His grace has provided everything through the sacrifice of Jesus. This is nearly too good to be true because there is absolutely nothing we can do to earn it and nothing we can do to lose it. Our part is simple: we respond to His grace by faith and appropriate what has already been accomplished.
As simple as this sounds, most Christians don’t understand this concept. Many emphasize grace and others emphasize faith. But too few emphasize balancing grace and faith. This is what the Bible teaches, but sad to say, many people get into error on this. It’s like sodium and chlorine: Taken individually, both are poisons and can kill you. When mixed together, they become salt, which you must have to live.
But if you put your faith in what God has already done for you, you’ll have the victory that overcomes the world (1 John 5:4). This is absolutely foundational to your relationship with God and could be the reason that you may not be seeing your prayers answered.