God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not by our works, but by His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began …
— 2 Timothy 1:8-9
The meaning of grace is totally unmerited favor to those who deserve disfavor. To the undeserving, to the ill-deserving, to the Hell-deserving, God offers eternal life, but not because of anything that we have done.
If Bible passages could be likened unto mountains, Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, so that no one should boast,” would be the Himalayas. One text stands out above them all, rising high into the sky, snow-clad, surrounded with clouds of mystery. It is, I think, the very pinnacle of biblical revelation, and it shares with us that great truth, that one central truth, that God wants us to know: “By grace you have been saved.”