“… through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”
In this verse the apostle identifies two more levels of grace. Having written that we are justified by faith, Paul declares that we also have access by faith into grace that makes it possible for us to stand in a hostile world and live a life that glorifies God. This access into grace makes it possible for us to enter into living grace and keeping grace.
There was a long and ancient poem that described a debate in heaven between two men who died in their nineties. They debated which of them was the greatest trophy of grace. One had lived a terribly sinful life. On his deathbed he had been led to salvation. He, therefore, considered himself a greater trophy of grace than the other man.
The second man had been the son of a pastor. He came to faith as a child and had never wavered in his faith. He himself had become a pastor and in that role he had led many to Christ and was a faithful shepherd for nearly 60 years.
The debate lasted for thousands of years but when the angels were asked to vote on the matter they decided that the pastor’s son was the greater trophy of grace. The first man had experienced saving grace but the second man had experienced keeping grace and living grace.
We sometimes give young people the impression that it is better to have lived a sinful life and then experience a dramatic conversion. However, there is nothing good about sin. We are a greater trophy of grace when we do not sin.