The first and possibly the most fundamental characteristic of divine grace is that it presupposes sin and guilt. Grace has meaning only when humanity is seen as fallen, unworthy of salvation, and liable to eternal wrath. It is precisely because people today have lost sight of the depths of human depravity that they think so little of divine grace. What makes Paul's declaration that we are saved "by grace" so significant is his earlier declaration that we were "dead" in trespasses and sins, "gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature" (NIV), "carrying out the desires of the body and the mind," and that we were by nature children of divine wrath (Eph. 2:1-10).