To illustrate what grace is, I shared the following story as related by Denise Banderman, of Hannibal, Missouri. Since numerous people have inquired about the story since Sunday evening; I have decided to post it here. The Bandermans' actual web-page is at: https://www.1on1withgod.org/.
The story itself is attested to by someone who was there at:
http://shadyelmfarm.com/2008/05/grace-by-a-college-friend/. For my part, I originally came accross the story in a web-based subscription publication of Christianity Today, Inc.)
In the spring of 2002, I left work early so I could have some uninterrupted study time before my final exam in the Youth Ministry class at Hannibal-LaGrange College in Missouri. When I got to class, everybody was doing their last-minute studying. The teacher came in and said he would review with us before the test. Most of his review came right from the study guide, but there were some things he was reviewing that I had never heard. When questioned about it, he said they were in the book and we were responsible for everything in the book. We couldn't argue with that.
Finally it was time to take the test. "Leave them face down on the desk until everyone has one, and I'll tell you to start," our professor, Dr. Tom Hufty, instructed.
When we turned them over, to my astonishment every answer on the test was filled in. My name was even written on the exam in red ink. The bottom of the last page said: "This is the end of the exam. All the answers on your test are correct. You will receive an A on the final exam. The reason you passed the test is because the creator of the test took it for you. All the work you did in preparation for this test did not help you get the A. You have just experienced … grace."
Dr. Hufty then went around the room and asked each student individually, "What is your grade? Do you deserve the grade you are receiving? How much did all your studying for this exam help you achieve your final grade?"
Then he said, "Some things you learn from lectures, some things you learn from research, but some things you can only learn from experience. You've just experienced grace. One hundred years from now, if you know Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, your name will be written down in a book, and you will have had nothing to do with writing it there. That will be the ultimate grace experience."