What Does “A Means of Grace” Mean?

We are often told that there is nothing we can do to get God’s grace. If there were something to do to get grace, it would no longer be grace. It would be a wage given for services rendered.

Many of the same people who emphasize this point (often under “sola gratia“), at the same time, hold to a belief in there being “means of grace.”

A “means to an end” refers to stuff you do to bring about a result. A “means of grace” is using the word “means” in the same way. “Means of Grace” means: stuff you do to get God’s grace, (which view, ironically enough, is typically held by people who don’t think there’s anything you can do to get grace).

For the majority of the Protestant church, the means of grace are prayer, the preaching of the word, and the sacraments (typically limited to Communion and baptism).

By doing such things, people will receive God’s grace to build up their faith.

If you pray; God will grace you with faith-building stuff. If you receive the preaching of the Word; God gives grace. If you eat and drink the church’s stuff and get wet in church; grace will be given to you.

If you don’t do these things, presumably, you will not be given God’s grace.

I actually agree that there are things you do to get grace. I believe this because the Bible says this. However, the biblical means of grace are different from the standard view.

God gives grace to the humble: you must be humble to get God’s grace. Humility is a means of grace.

We are saved by grace through faith. Faith is a means of grace.

Note how believing and being humble go together, and also note how neither thing requires you to be at church!

The real issue behind the means of grace is that a church hierarchy is telling people they need to come to church in order to get God’s grace. You need our leaders and our rituals to get grace.

It’s a classic way of guilting people into church attendance. That’s what’s behind the means of grace.

Faith and humility are all you need to receive grace. They are the only biblically sanctioned means of grace there are.  You don’t need to be in church to do either of them.

You can do them right now, in fact. Give them a try. They work wonders. Grace is cool. It would be cool to get more! Go ahead and get more; aint nothin stoppin ya.

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