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I am a theistic skeptic, but if I have a theistic virtue I do not demand God's grace (whatever it is I expect or need from Him).

Is this a virtue? Or Is this a vice?

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    Do you mean "expect" or "demand"? Demanding for me looks, like while praying telling God to do something. There is also pleading and saying "Hey, you said this in the Bible, would you please keep that promise" I think it comes down to respect. I mean in what scenarios can you demand something from another person and how would you communicate this demand?
    – telion
    Commented May 28 at 13:07

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The word translated "grace" in the New Testament comes from the Greek word charis, which means “favour, blessing, or kindness.”

We can all extend grace to others but when the word grace is used in connection with God, it takes on a more powerful meaning. Grace is God choosing to bless us rather than curse us as our sin deserves. It is His benevolence to the undeserving. Grace is God giving the greatest treasure to the least deserving — which is every one of us.

With that in mind, it becomes clear that we are in no position to demand that God extends His grace towards us. God is the instigator of grace, and it is from Him that all other grace flows.

The apostle Paul began many of his letters with the phrase “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (See Romans 1:7; Ephesians 1:1; 1 Corinthians 1:3).

This was no arrogant demand from Paul. It was a request. Grace gives a blessing we don’t deserve. It is a gift from God:

But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it (Ephesians 4:7).

As the recipients of God’s grace, Christians are to be gracious to others. Grace is given to us to serve others and to exercise our spiritual gifts for the building up of the church (Romans 12:6; Ephesians 3:2, 7; 4:7; 1 Peter 4:10).

When we approach the throne of grace we do so in all humility. We pray for God’s grace, His wisdom, His strength and guidance so that we may be equipped to serve Him and that our words and deeds may never bring disgrace on His holy name.

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I would say it is ok to "expect" God's grace.

1 John 1:9 (ESV):

"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

=> I would say you can "expect" Gods grace, but it is not completely unconditional, although the bar could be seen as quite low I guess.

Also refer to Acts 2:14-41, in particular vv. 21 and 38:

21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

=> Meaning you still need to call (pray) to God, repent, get baptized and follow Matthew 22:36-40 (Follow God with all your being and love your neighbor)

"Demanding" has a different ring to it and can imply entitlement. No one is entitled to God's grace because no one can be entitled to anyone's grace in general.

Eg.: Person X kills my daughter. => Can X demand my forgiveness? Can X demand Grace from the Justice System?

That means that Grace is always voluntary by nature and cannot be demanded. The reason why you can expect God's Grace on the other hand, is that God said he would be graceful, and that God would keep his word.

Basically, it comes down to your heart & attitude. Do you feel remorse for your actions, do you repent and do you have a humble heart? Refer to Luke 18:9-14 to get a better feel of the attitude expected.

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  • don't be offended by the odd question, but will I see and know God when or before I do or am offered the opportunity to repent?
    – user63105
    Commented May 28 at 13:34
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    @user66697 I am never offended by a good question ;). It is up to God when and to whom he reveals himself. As Acts 2:38 points out though, to receive the Holy Spirit, you need to repent. Also to my knowledge "repenting" is something you can do whenever or wherever you want. I would also say you might experience God, but probably not "see" him. Knowing God can partly be done by reading the Bible, praying, and going to Church/Seminars/Schools. "Knowing" as in "getting to know" is part of life. You also can know him and not be Christian btw.
    – telion
    Commented May 28 at 13:40
  • A key part to repenting of your sins in the sense mentioned in this answer is to believe in Jesus, that he’s the Son of God, that he died for our sins, and that God raised him from the dead on the third day. You can’t have true saving repentance without faith in Jesus.
    – bob
    Commented May 29 at 2:16
  • user66697 The only way to truly know God is to believe in Jesus and repent of your sins and so become a Christian, a child of God. Only through the Holy Spirit can you truly know God and it’s a wonderful thing. In fact Jesus describes it as the essence of eternal life in John 17:3. While the Bible does say that God draws those he chooses to himself, we also have the responsibility to and are told to believe in Jesus and to repent of our sins. If we do so, we receive the grace to which are Telion refers, eternal life! If we don’t, we receive the just reward for our sins: eternity in hell.
    – bob
    Commented May 29 at 2:29
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We are all living in God's gifted age of grace today, which is "sufficient":

Ephesians 3:1-2

For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, 2 If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

2 Corinthians 12:7-10

And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Believers have been gifted all "spiritual" blessings, in "heavenly".

Ephesians 1:3

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

God poured out His grace through Christ crucified for the forgiveness of all of our sins today. We receive the gift of eternal salvation by having faith in this:

Ephesians 2:8-9

For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

1 Corinthians 15:1-4

Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; 2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. 3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; 4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: Are you referring to God's grace as in receiving earthly blessings? Those were for Israel past and for Israel future.

Are you seeking earthly blessings through God's grace? Those were for Israel past and for Israel future at their "times of refreshing" when Christ returns to earth:

Acts 3:12-20

And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? 13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. 14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; 15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. 16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. 17 And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. 18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. 19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. 20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:

This will occur for Israel when the age of God's grace for the church, the body of Christ, has been filled with believers:

Romans 11:25

For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

Romans 11:11-13

I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. 12 Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? 13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:

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    OPs Question was "Is it OK to demand God's grace?" I am not sure what your answer regarding that is. Is your position that you can, or not? You mention Ephesians 2:8-9 though, but my question here that would clarify your answer would be: Can you have faith and demand God's grace or why do they exclude each other? "Believers have been gifted all "spiritual" blessings, in "heavenly"." In what way do blessings relate to "grace"?
    – telion
    Commented May 28 at 14:59
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    @telion The OP stated "whatever it is I expext or need of Him". I believe that they are referring to earthly blessings granted by God's grace. That thought is contrary to the reality of our blessings being spiritual through God's grace. My point was that we should not demand any further grace than what we have already received through Jesus Christ. Commented May 28 at 16:44
  • Theistic skeptic doesn’t necessarily mean Christian. Theists only specifically believe in God, not necessarily in Jesus. So while you’re right, this answer makes assumptions about theistic skeptics that might not be appropriate to make, i.e. that they’re Christians.
    – bob
    Commented May 29 at 2:20
  • @bob Understood, thanks! Why are they asking on a "Christian" forum I wonder? Commented May 29 at 2:35
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    I don’t know but I’m glad. It’s a chance for them to hear the gospel which is always a good thing. :)
    – bob
    Commented May 29 at 2:35
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It is neither a virtue nor a vice because none of our good works amount to anything in God’s sight (Romans 3:10-12) and indeed we will reap the wages of our sin, eternal death in hell (Romans 6:23) if we do not repent of our sins and believe in Jesus (Mark 1:15, John 8:24)—that he’s the Son of God, that he died on the cross for our sins, and that he rose again on the third day (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

If we believe and repent we will receive unimaginable grace, first of all forgiveness for our sins the weight of which is infinite (Matthew 18:21-35; see below for more on this parable*), and beyond that adoption as children of God (1 John 3:1) and eternal life with him in heaven where we will have such a loving relationship with him as our Father that he will wipe every tear from our eyes (Revelation 21:14) and we will see his face (Revelation 22:3-4)!

And as his children we have a throne of grace that we can approach with boldness (Hebrews 4:16) in prayer asking for help with things we need (Luke 18:1-8), not to enrich ourselves, but problems that we or others have, and especially concern for the advancement of God’s kingdom. We are not alone; even in this life He is our loving Father!

We will never earn grace, but if we will believe in Jesus and repent of our sins, the free gift of unimaginable grace is freely available to us. If we reject it, we reap the wages of our sin.

Note: I’ve quoted a number of single verses out of context above but you (anyone reading this answer) should really read the surrounding passages, really Romans and Hebrews in their entirety at a minimum along with the Gospels—really the whole NT and even the whole OT because these themes run throughout.

*A note about the parable of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18:21-35. The debt owed by the first servant is an amount of money estimated in todays dollars to well surpass many many billions of USD, a sum so ridiculously huge that it is essentially infinite because the man would never, could never repay it no matter how long he worked to pay the debt. So is our sin debt against God. It requires infinite payment. Fortunately for us, Jesus the Son of God, himself being the Second Person of the Trinity and thus God died for our sins and was able to pay the sin debt in full and that payment for your sins is available to you through faith in him and repentance of your sins. If you reject it, like that servant payment will be demanded of you which of course you will never finish—that is the second death in hell. I hope all who read this have chosen or will choose life!

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