I got to thinking about this question while reading Paul’s letter to the Ephesians this morning. I try not to let my mind wander while reading the Bible, but sometimes a little thought will briefly take me somewhere else.
For me, a good place to start is with grace. What is it? I’ve heard it said, that grace is love. I believe it’s much more than that. I believe it’s undeserved and unearned love. God loved us before we were born, before He created anything, before we knew who He was. God’s grace holds us in a blanket of love that stays with us no matter how far we stray from him. Despite our failings, our doubts, our skepticism, all of our sins, God’s grace is always present. It is his connection to us.
Did we ask for it? Did we earn it? There’s no way we deserve it. It is and always has been there for us. I’m a father of two and like most parents, there’s not much my (grownup) kids do that I’m not proud of. But there have been moments. Did I love them any less? Of course not. My love for my children was there before they were born and will be there while I’m alive and God willing, in heaven.
One way to answer the question if there is “grace without faith”, is to turn the question around. Lets look at faith. Can faith exist towards God without His grace? Why would it? According to Hebrews, chapter 11,
“…faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
How would that exist had God not loved us first? Faith stems from our desire to love him back. It’s also unconditional trust. If God did not show us His perfect, forgiving love through grace, what would be the purpose of our faithfulness? Back to my family again. Hopefully, my children have faith in me. Would they have faith in me if I didn’t love them? If I never loved them? If I never forgave them? I think not.
Can we get into heaven without faith? There’s only One who knows that answer. On the other hand, without grace, I don’t think anyone gets into heaven. Without grace there is no heaven. Grace is God’s connection to us. Faith is our connection to God. God doesn’t need anything from us. We need everything from him.
Is there grace without faith? The only true relationship with God exists with his grace and our faith.