In Christian discussions, the phrase "saving grace" is generally used to refer to God's grace to lead a person to salvation. This is based on a variety of biblical principles that emphasize salvation as a free gift of God's grace rather than something that a person earns through good deeds or actions.
Saving grace – What is it?
Salvation requires saving grace. "For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20). No amount or level of human accomplishments is good enough to obtain salvation. Isaiah 64:6 teaches "all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment." Instead, "the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe" (Romans 3:21-22).
In addition to the insufficiency of works to obtain salvation, God's grace has provided a way for eternal life through salvation in Jesus Christ. How can a person obtain this salvation or saving grace? Ephesians 2:8-9 says, "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." A person believes in Jesus by faith and receives salvation by grace as a free gift. As Romans 6:23 adds, "For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
What is a person saved from? Salvation includes forgiveness of sin, the start of a new life, and the promise of eternal life with the Lord. God's work is complete, covering past, present, and future. His work of saving grace makes us a new creation: "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17). Believers are called to live differently as a result: "be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness" (Ephesians 4:23-24).
Saving grace also removes the Christian from a future destined for eternal punishment and separation from God toward the promise of eternity with Christ and His people. The Bible ultimately describes a new heaven and new earth where we read John's vision that states, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away" (Revelation 21:3-4).
Is salvation by faith or works or both?
What is the significance of "sola gratia"?
What is the significance of "sola fide"?
Do we contribute anything good to our own salvation?
What is salvation?
Truth about Salvation