In Christian theology, the unmerited gift of divine favour, which brings about the salvation of a sinner. The concept of grace has given rise to theological debate over the nature of human depravity and the extent to which individuals may contribute to their own salvation through free will. Though in principle the ideas of merit and grace are mutually exclusive, the question of whether grace may be given as a reward for good works or for faith alone was important in the Protestant Reformation. There has also been controversy over the means of grace: Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, and some Protestants believe that it is conferred through the sacraments, while some other Protestants (e.g., Baptists) hold that participation in grace results from personal faith alone. See alsojustification; original sin.