7 Ways to Unlock the Power of Saving Grace

Contributing Writer
Updated Jun 20, 2024
7 Ways to Unlock the Power of Saving Grace

Sola gratia. Grace alone. 

Centuries ago, Martin Luther and the Reformation addressed issues within the Catholic church, attempting to center believers upon Christ instead of an institution. Among the doctrines they espoused, they taught Christians were saved by grace alone. The reformers pointed to the following verse, among others:

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is a gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” - Ephesians 2:8-9

People often confuse mercy and grace. Both encompass unmerited favor. However, mercy is God’s favor in not giving us the punishment we deserve. Grace is God’s favor in giving us the power to live with him. Both are gifts, neither deserved. 

The next sentence in Ephesians, verse 2:10, further explains this: “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Our works didn’t save us. God’s work did. The gift of grace results in our doing good works initiated by God. In order to walk with him, we require mercy (forgiveness of sin, removal of punishment) and grace (the power to do the works God has prepared for us). 

How do we access this grace? Here are 7 ways to unlock the power of saving grace.

Photo Credit: 7 Ways to Unlock the Power of Saving Grace

Slide 1 of 7

1. Recognizing Our Need for God’s Transformative Grace

God is truth, and we align ourselves with our Father by agreeing with our own absolute need of him. This recognition of our own inadequacy and dependence on God opens the door for his transformative work within us. Jesus himself emphasizes the importance of acknowledging our need for salvation. In John 15:5, Christ declares, 

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” 

Nothing in between exists. Either we bear fruit with God as the source, or we accomplish nothing. 

When we acknowledge our need for God’s saving grace, we humble ourselves before him, recognizing that we cannot save ourselves through our own efforts or merits. This humility aligns us with the truth of our condition as fallen beings needing redemption. In Luke 18:13, Jesus tells the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, illustrating the power of acknowledging our need for mercy. The tax collector, acknowledging his sinfulness, cries out, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Jesus concludes, “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

By acknowledging our need for God’s saving grace, we position ourselves to receive it fully and experience the transformative power of His love and mercy in our lives. 

Slide 2 of 7

2. Unlocking God's Grace and Restoration through Repentance and Confession

Repentance and confession play pivotal roles in unlocking God’s grace in our lives. Through repentance, we turn away from sin and toward following God and walking in his ways. And with confession, we acknowledge our sins before God and seek his forgiveness and cleansing. These actions pave the way for reconciliation with God and the restoration of our relationship with him.

Confession agrees with the truth we have sinned and deserve God’s wrath. In 1 John 1:9, the apostle John writes, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” God responds to our humble confession with forgiveness and purification. The Bible highlights repentance for receiving God’s forgiveness. In Acts 3:19, Peter preaches, 

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord.” 

Repentance becomes transformative, where God forgives and transforms us. He bequeaths his grace to us, empowering us to follow and obey him. Together, repentance and confession create a pathway for experiencing the fullness of God’s saving grace. They demonstrate our willingness to acknowledge our need for God’s forgiveness, our commitment to turning away from sin, and our desire for restoration in our relationship with him. 

Slide 3 of 7
Woman running on the beach at sunrise; how do we unlock God's saving grace?

3. Faith in Jesus Unlocks God's Saving Grace

When we repent, we place our faith and trust in the person of Jesus. Ephesians 2:8-9 teaches that we are saved by grace “through faith.” Faith, which is also a gift, provides the way of salvation through which grace works. This faith and trust in Jesus unlocks the power of God’s saving grace in our lives. Faith involves placing our trust and confidence in Jesus Christ, believing in his sacrificial death and resurrection for the forgiveness of our sins. In John 3:16, Jesus himself declares, 

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  

Only through believing in Jesus, the Son of God, can we experience salvation from spiritual death to eternal life. Trusting Christ involves surrendering our lives to his lordship and relying on his strength and guidance in all areas of our lives. Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs, 

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” 

This passage emphasizes the importance of relying upon God completely and submitting to his will, knowing that he directs our paths and leads us in the way of righteousness.

Photo Credit: Image created using DALL.E 2024  AI technology and subsequently edited and reviewed by our editorial team.

Slide 4 of 7

4. The Power of Fasting in Deepening Our Dependence on God

Certain disciplines help us remember our complete reliance upon God’s grace and provision. Throughout the Bible and the great men and women of God, fasting has proven a valuable discipline for humbling our hearts unto God. In Matthew 6:16-18, Jesus teaches about the importance of fasting, saying, 

“When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.” 

Fasting unto God, not for fame or attention, garners unseen and open reward. Fasting involves abstaining from food or certain activities for a period to focus on prayer, spiritual reflection, and seeking God’s presence. It is a way of denying the desires of the flesh and drawing closer to God in dependence and humility. In addition, through fasting, we declare that God alone sustains us and gives us strength (Matthew 4:4). 

We can also take times of fasting to focus on what’s important to God: loving others. Isaiah 58:6-7 describes the kind of fasting that God desires—loosening the chains of injustice, setting the oppressed free, and sharing resources with the poor and strangers. 

Slide 5 of 7

5. Unlocking Grace through Daily Prayer and Meditation

Along with fasting, prayer, and meditation are continual and daily disciplines to help us unlock the power of grace. In the Bible, both are depicted as essential components of spiritual growth, communion with God, and seeking his will. Jesus now stands as High Priest in the throne room of God in heaven, interceding on our behalf, and as his followers, we join him there. Philippians 4:6-7 underscores the importance of prayer, stating, 

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 

Through prayer, we receive God’s eternal and unshakable peace. Biblical meditation involves reflecting deeply on God’s word and character. Psalm 1:2-3 describes the blessedness of the one who meditates on God’s law day and night, saying, “But whose delight is in the law of the Lord, and who meditates on his law day and night. That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither—whatever they do prospers.” Taking time to be still and let God guide our thoughts on his character, we deepen our relationship with him and learn to hear his voice better. 

Slide 6 of 7
A woman bringing coffee to a middle school for the teachers; serving others.

6. Extending God's Grace through Service and Sacrifice

God doesn’t give to us for ourselves alone. He wants us to become conduits of his love, hope, and grace. Effectively, upon repentance, God now lives through us by the Spirit. To experience more grace ourselves, we need to extend grace to others through service and self-sacrifice. Jesus teaches the importance of showing grace and serving others as expressions of love and obedience to God’s commandments. In Matthew 25:35-36, Jesus says, 

“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.” 

Grace is God’s empowerment; as his children, we should empower those in need. Jesus counts it as if done for him personally. Extending grace involves showing others kindness, compassion, and forgiveness, even when they may not deserve it. Ephesians 4:32 exhorts believers to “Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Serving others involves meeting their physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, following the example of Jesus, who came not to be served but to serve (Matthew 20:28). Through acts of service, we demonstrate God’s love in tangible ways, reflecting his character and advancing his kingdom on earth.

Photo Credit: Image created using DALL.E 2024  AI technology and subsequently edited and reviewed by our editorial team.

Slide 7 of 7

Studying Scripture Deepens Our Understanding of God's Grace

Another foundational practice includes studying Scripture, reminding us through history, prophecy, and teaching. The Bible serves as the authoritative source of revelation about God’s character, his redemptive plan, and his will for humanity. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 states, 

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 

Through the Bible, we engage with something living and active: the word of God in written form. No other book possesses this power. Studying scripture deepens our understanding of God’s saving grace and its implications for our lives. Romans 10:17 affirms, 

“Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” 

Reading or hearing the message of Christ from the Bible nurtures our faith. In addition, studying the Bible fosters transformation as we learn its truths, apply its principles, and allow it to shape our beliefs and behaviors. James 1:22 encourages believers to be doers of the word, not just hearers, emphasizing the transformative power of scripture in shaping our character and conduct. For such a life, we need grace. 

Related Podcast: James, Nate, and Vic discuss the work God is doing around the world through Vic's ministry and the necessity of doing and preaching the basics of the faith in today's world.

Britt MooneyBritt Mooney lives and tells great stories. As an author of fiction and non -iction, he is passionate about teaching ministries and nonprofits the power of storytelling to inspire and spread truth. Mooney has a podcast called Kingdom Over Coffee and is a published author of We Were Reborn for This: The Jesus Model for Living Heaven on Earth as well as Say Yes: How God-Sized Dreams Take Flight.

Originally published Tuesday, 21 May 2024.