“What is the real meaning of grace? The traditional answer is: “Grace is unmerited favour.” Yes, it is unmerited favour, but that is a weak definition. This rightly means you have no merit in your own performance, and God engages you on the basis of you having no merit.
But grace is more than unmerited favour. Grace does not only come to where there is no merit, but grace also comes where there is a great deal of demerit. You can see that demerit is stronger than no merit. You and I are not only unworthy, but much worse off than that. We were positively everything that we should not have been!
Paul speaks this way about himself, when he says: “To me, who am less than the least of all saints”, he also says: “I am the chief of sinners.” (1 Timothy 1:15).
He not only tells you about his lack of merit, but a great deal more about his demerit. Grace shows that even demerit does not set grace aside. Grace is just grace, whatever the condition, however great the demerit, grace wins.
God is not dealing with us in grace because He owes us something. You see, no one has a claim upon the grace of God. God is not any mans debtor.
When we realise this true nature of grace, we are introduced into a realm that is beyond us. We stand in amazement at God’s voluntary, spontaneous, free, unmerited favour. The soul that has not discovered being included in this glorious reference, has missed out on “the riches of His grace”.