After sin entered the world following the fall of Adam and Eve, grace was merely a promise. To restore that which was lost, God revealed the law to Moses, a series of standards, regulations and rules to abide by. Animal sacrifices served as a temporary means to obtain forgiveness. This grueling pattern continued until Jesus arrived early in the first century. One of the many lessons Jesus taught audiences during his three year ministry is that grace comes first.
For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace, Romans 6:14.
In the passage above, the apostle Paul hints about his own internal battle with sin. Paul chooses the term dominion, referring to the struggle that exists prior to accepting, believing and trusting in Jesus as Lord and Savior. Those who attempt to be good without a personal relationship with God continue to live under the Old Testament law today. Thus, the concept that grace comes first is still foreign to those without 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.
As the apostle Paul matured spiritually, he began to educate new believers on the power of grace. As a former religious zealot, Paul’s former attempts to be perfect fell well short of God’s glory. Thus, Paul became an advocate of grace, encouraging others to avoid basing your salvation on works alone. Grace is a gift from God, aided by faith in Jesus. May you come to the same conclusion today that grace comes first.
by Jay Mankus