“… through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” (Romans 5:2)
In this verse the Apostle Paul identifies additional levels of grace. Having written that we are justified by faith, Paul declares that we also have access by faith to grace that makes it possible for us to stand in a hostile world and live a life that glorifies God.
This access to grace makes it possible for us to enter into living grace and keeping grace.
There was a long poem that described a debate in heaven between two men who died in their nineties. They debated which man was the greatest trophy of grace. One lived a terribly sinful life. On his deathbed he was 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 never wavered. He studied to become a pastor. In that role he led many to Christ and was a faithful shepherd for nearly 60 years.
The debate lasted for many years, but when the angels were asked to vote on the matter they decided the pastor’s son was the greater trophy of grace. The first man experienced saving grace but the second man experienced keeping grace and living grace.
We sometimes give young people the impression that it is better to live a sinful life and then experience a dramatic conversion. However, there is nothing good about a life of sin. We are a greater trophy of grace when we do not fall into sin.
Dick Woodward, 10 November 2009