And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace:
Believe by grace. How often do we hear the phrase, "Believe by faith." It is, unfortunately, common to hear preaching which separates Christ from Baptism and the Lord's Supper, and sets people on an endless quest for certitude of salvation based upon their faith, or their inner experience. Neither faith nor an experience can be a saving foundation, for Christ alone is the foundation of salvation for all who believe, and He is ministered unto us in the gospel, the Sacrament of Holy Baptism, and the Sacrament of the Supper. Therefore we ought to say that we obtain by faith, through grace, the benefits of Christ disclosed therein, for the word and sacraments contain and offer to the sinner all the promises of God in Christ Jesus.
This does not mean that the believer does not experience Christ, His love and forgiveness, but this experience is a fruit of having received Christ in the word and sacraments wherein Christ, our Foundation, is revealed and extended. The Word is foundational, and in this we trust and believe.