1) began at the cross,
2) saves us eternally
Romans 5:20 makes it even plainer. “Where sin increased, grace increased all the more.” Every time you sin you are to drop dead. Praise God for His Duracell battery of grace that keeps us physically alive. Because of it we can develop faith and learn how to live obedient lives to the teachings of Jesus and “get” eternal life.
But there also comes the time when we will forfeit our grace. Ananias and Sapphira are examples of this forfeiture. The Israelites are another example of this forfeiture. There comes a time when God can no longer tolerate sin. “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” Jonah 2:8.
Let’s put all this in its proper place to agree with the rest of the Bible and Jesus. Remember that there were no punctuations when the original Greek was written. All we are going to do is revisit Ephesians 2:8-10 and punctuate it to make sense and be in harmony with the Bible.
“For by grace (keeping us alive physically), you have been saved through faith (obedience that comes by faith) - and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works (yourselves works) so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works (obedience from faith), which God prepared in advance for us to do (Ten Commandments).”
So where did the modern concept of grace come from? It came from the Catholic Church. Tetzel, the great seller of indulgences for the Catholic Church explained the Catholic position as such:
“Four precious graces were promised to those who should aid in building the basilica of St. Peter. ‘The first grace that we announce to you,’ said the commissaries, in accordance with the letter of their instructions, ‘is the full pardon of every sin.’ Next followed three other graces: first, the right of choosing a confessor, who, whenever the hour of death appeared at hand, should give absolution from all sin, and even from the greatest crimes reserved for the apostolic see: secondly, a participation in all the blessings, works, and merits of the Catholic Church, prayers, fasts, alms, and pilgrimages; thirdly, redemption of the souls that are in purgatory.
“To obtain the first of these graces, it was requisite to have contrition of heart and confession of mouth, or at least an intention of confessing. But as for the three others, they might be obtained without contrition, without confession, simply by paying... Such was the doctrine taught by the Archbishop of Mentz and by the papal commissaries.” (D-Aubigne’s History of the Reformation: Published 1846)
As you can see, the Protestant churches kept the concept of grace which came from the Catholic Church, and simply did away with the idea of payment (unless you include all those requests for money). None of it is correct in a Biblical sense.
Many claim that the God of the Old Testament is a God of vengeance, hate and “law”, while the God of the New Testament is a God of grace, love and compassion. The truth could not be farther from that teaching. The greatest examples of God’s grace are found in the Old Testament. Over and over again the Israelites deserved to be destroyed, but God’s grace kept them alive. “The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.” Psalms 116:5.
Some may say that salvation is a “free gift” and that God will not nor would He ever take it back. “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.” Jonah 2:8. See, the “gift” can be forfeited.
If I give you $100 and tell you that I will never take it back, but it is yours to do with as you please, I am not responsible for what you do with it. If you are careless with it and someone steals it from you, you no longer have the $100 I gave you, you have forfeited it. Remember, the devil is a thief. He is trying to steal your “free gift”. Or you may misplace your “free gift” and lose it. Either way, you no longer have your “free Gift”. I did not take it back, but you no longer have it. Same with God and eternal life.