The first greeting with which Paul begins each of his epistles is grace, and he uses it with its full Christian meaning. Grace! God's grace! The unmerited favor of God toward humanity.
It seems unnecessary to have to emphasize that grace is unmerited, for that is the definition of grace. Yet we must emphasize it. For man always imagines that God loves him for what he is intrinsically. We imagine that God has been gracious to us because of what we have done - because of our piety, because of our good deeds, because of our repentance, because of our virtue. But God does not love us because of that. And God is not gracious to us because of that. Paul says that "God commendeth his love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8). Christ died for men who were hideous in His sight because of sin. And we are like that. You are like that, and so am I. If we are ever to understand the grace of God, we must begin with the knowledge that God has acted graciously toward us in Christ entirely apart from human merit.
... God tells us that we have not the slightest claim upon Him. We deserve hell at His hands, and anything He might do for us is grace however insignificant. But God's grace is not insignificant. And it certainly does not stop with a single act. It is not a dollar-a-day grace. It is a grace that has made us millionaires in Christ.
Taken from "Abundant Grace: The Greeting of Grace" (used by permission).