We face a lot of deadlines in this life. Whether it's homework, bills, taxes, applications or registrations, every one of us could use a grace period now and then. This whole world is facing a deadline — the return of Christ. The good news is that God has given the human race an incredibly long grace period, and the Bible explains why in 2 Peter 3:9: "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."
Whether Christ returns in our lifetime or not, we each have a deadline at the end of our lives. As it says in Hebrews 9:27, "Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment." Unfortunately, none of us know just how long our particular grace period is going to last, which is why the Bible urges us, "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts as you did in the rebellion" (Hebrews 3:15).
It's kind of ironic that a grace period is an amount of time to get something done, and yet with God, it's not really about you doing something as much as it's about accepting something that He has already done for you: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-- not by works, so that no one can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
As that verse points out, we are saved by grace— period.
Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines grace as "unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification." Both the dictionary and the Bible agree that we don't get grace because of anything we have done; it's unmerited. God didn't wait for us to save ourselves, because he knew we couldn't: "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). And He didn't save us because we loved Him so much either: "This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:10).
Again and again, the Bible hammers home the point that it is grace and grace alone that saves us. This is offensive to some people, but to those who know just how truly sinful they are, this is truly Good News. Grace is a gift, and like any gift, you can accept it or refuse it. It's our hope that you will accept it.
"Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God" (John 1:12)