Sin was introduced through one man, Adam, and it was conquered by Jesus (Romans 5:12–21). Sin brought a curse upon the world and its inhabitants (Genesis 3:14–19). We need salvation, which God has provided for us freely through the sacrifice of His own Son, Jesus Christ. God's salvation comes by grace through faith: "For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast" (Ephesians 2:8–9). Both grace and faith are needed for salvation, so let's look a little closer into what that means.
What does it mean that salvation is by grace through faith?
We are all under the curse of sin when we are born, and we live in a fallen world that is under the curse of sin until Jesus returns. Sin brings the penalty of death and an eternity in hell (Romans 6:23; John 3:18). It separates us from God and ultimately leads to our death: "Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned" (Romans 5:12). We need to be saved from the power and influence of sin over our lives.
Salvation saves us from the penalty of sin and guarantees us eternal life in heaven with God (John 3:16–18). Many religions teach that salvation is achieved by things that we can do; they imply that we can be good enough to earn it, or that if we are sorry enough for our bad actions everything will be okay. No matter how good our intentions or actions are, they are not enough on their own. While we should do good works and have contrition over our shortcomings, this is not enough to free us from the curse of sin we inherited from Adam in the Garden of Eden. We need to be delivered from the curse of sin. God's grace provides the deliverance we need.
Grace is God's unmerited favor which He freely bestows on us (Romans 3:24). He loves us so He provides grace that enables us to receive the gift of salvation through Christ: "But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved" (Ephesians 2:4–5). When we accept His gift of grace, it vindicates us and frees us from the power of sin. We are no longer separated from God or sentenced to hell, because His grace covers us and makes us sinless in His sight. We accept the gift of His eternal salvation by grace through faith.
We accept God's grace by putting our faith in His son, Jesus Christ, and in the redemptive work He has done. He is the "founder and perfecter of our faith" (Hebrews 12:2). Jesus was crucified and died on the cross for the forgiveness of sins for all of humanity, and He was resurrected from the dead three days later (Matthew 27:27—28:10; 1 Corinthians 15:3–8). God's grace is bestowed upon us when we confess and believe in Jesus Christ by faith.
"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. … And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him" (Hebrews 11:1, 6). If you think it sounds impossible to have this kind of faith on your own, you are right. We cannot generate this level of faith on our own. Both grace and faith are gifts of God (Ephesians 2:8). Do you want to believe in Jesus but do not feel like you have the faith to do so? Ask God to give you the faith you need and look to His Word, the Bible: "So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" (Romans 10:17). Faith comes by hearing the word of the Lord.
God is the author of our redemption story. He created and chose us to be His from before the universe was even formed (Ephesians 1:4–6). He desires for us to put our faith in Jesus, so that we will be saved and adopted as His children (John 1:12). God "… is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). It is our decision whether or not we will choose to receive the gift of salvation. Salvation is the result of the combination of grace and faith. When we put our faith in Jesus as Lord, we receive the free gift of God's grace and this is how we are saved.
Saving grace – What is it?
What is the significance of "sola gratia"?
What is the significance of "sola fide"?
Why is the doctrine of justification by faith so important?
How can I be saved?
Truth about Salvation