I have heard people saying after a near-death situation that "It is by the grace of God he is alive." How biblical is that?
"Grace" is a favor given, even though it is not deserved. We usually use it to talk about salvation, but consider: "For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me" (I Corinthians 15:9-10). Paul is talking about more than his salvation from sin. He became an apostle, though Paul did not think he deserved such a position because of his background. "... of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God's grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ" (Ephesians 3:7-8). Regardless, Paul made good use of that gift to serve God fully throughout his life. And even in that effort, Paul said it really wasn't him, but God's grace working through his life.
When a person lived a life that would have led to eternal punishment, but then drastically changes after realizing his mortality, he can thank God that He gave a gift of time in which to change. Perhaps some might look at a person's brush with death and tell him that he should not waste the time he has left because God gave him a gift to put his life to better use.
"Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is" (Ephesians 5:15-17).