WHAT IS GRACE?
Grace refers to "God's free and unmerited favor." It is God freely bestowing His goodness to people who deserve only punishment. Notice the implications of grace. God is in no way obligated to show kindness and mercy to anyone - least of all those who have rebelled against His rule. We are completely unable to earn any merit from God; we stand condemned in the courtroom of God's justice. Yet God resolves to extend mercy and favor to us in spite of our guilt. It is this grace that is the source of our salvation and characterizes what Christ has done for us. Because we are saved "by grace" alone, we can never earn our salvation or contribute anything to it. For all eternity, God alone will receive the glory and credit for graciously giving to us what we could never merit on our own. God's grace points to his holy love - a love that paid the ultimate sacrifice for the utterly undeserving - you and me. As John Newton wrote so well...
"Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me."
WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?
How can we be saved from our sins and the righteous wrath of God? The answer is the Gospel, the "good news" of God's saving work on our behalf through the person and work of Jesus Christ. The holiness of God demands that sin be punished. If God failed to punish sin, He would cease to be just. If He ceased to be just, He would cease to be God. But the Bible teaches that, not only is God holy, He is also loving; love is essential to His very nature. Even though we were deserving of eternal punishment, God, motivated by His infinite love, chose to take upon Himself in the person of His Son the full measure of divine wrath.
This is the glory of the cross: God saved us in such a way that, in one and the same act, He preserved His uncompromising holiness and expressed His fathomless love and mercy. This perfect solution to man's dilemma with God was accomplished through Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Jesus Christ is the Gospel; it is His holy history, the news of who He is and what He has done for us. The Gospel includes Jesus' birth, life, death, resurrection, ascension, and coming return.