This Biblical Christianity website encourages people to know and to live, God’s Word; thus enabling us to live now as God intended for us to live, and preparing us for eternal life in God’s kingdom.
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If you have read the three previous pages in this series – Don’t Let Yourselves Be Deceived About Salvation, and The Gospel According To Romans – Parts I and II, you have seen many examples of and well introduced to the grace of God. Some of these examples are: The ability to hear with understanding the Gospel message, for those who desire to do the will of God; forgiveness, the imputed righteousness of Christ, and a new nature and eternal life to those who have repented and believed the Gospel; redemption, being made righteous or justified, and reconciled or brought into a right relationship with God; delivered from the power of sin; the indwelling Holy Spirit who along with Jesus intercedes for us before the throne of God; and we are kept by the power of God as we await to enjoy the future glory of Christ.
The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia explains GRACE like this –
But the tendency of the New Testament writers is to combine the various meanings the word can have, something that is particularly well illustrated in 2 Cor. 8-9. In these two chapters the word occurs 10 times, but in so many different senses as to suggest that Paul is consciously playing with the term. Charis (grace) is the money given to the Jerusalemites by the Corinthians (8:19), it is the increase of goods that God will grant the Corinthians (9:8), it is the disposition of the givers (8:6), it is the power of God that has wrought this disposition (8:1; 9:14), it is the act of Christ in the Incarnation (8:9; contrast the distinction between "God's grace" and "Christs act" in Heb. 2:9), it is the thanks that Paul renders (2 Cor. 9:15).
That all a Christian is and all that he has is God's gift could have been stated of course without the use of any special term at all. But in these two chapters Paul has taught this truth by using for the various ideas always the same term and by referring this term to God at the beginning and the end of the section. That is, to the multiplicity of concepts there is given a unity of terminology, corresponding to the unity given the multiple aspects of life by the thought of entire dependence on God. So charis, "grace," becomes almost an equivalent for "Christianity," viewed as the religion of dependence on God through Christ. As one may think of entering Christianity, abiding in it, or falling from it, so one may speak of entering into (Rom. 5:2), abiding in (Acts 13:43), or falling from (Gal. 5:4) grace; compare 1 Peter 5:12. So the teaching of Christianity may be summed up as word or gospel of grace (Acts 14:3; 20:24,32). So "grace be with you" closes the Epistles as a sufficient summary of all the blessings that can be wished Christian readers.
Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary gives us an extended definition –
Favor or kindness shown without regard to the worth or merit of the one who receives it and in spite of what that same person deserves. Grace is one of the key attributes of God. The Lord God is "merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth" (Ex. 34:6). Therefore, grace is almost always associated with mercy, love, compassion, and patience as the source of help and with deliverance from distress.
The Grace of God and how it comes to us is summed up in one verse – "Now there are distinctive varieties and distributions of endowments (gifts, extraordinary powers distinguishing certain Christians, due to the power of divine grace operating in their souls by the Holy Spirit) and they vary, but the [Holy] Spirit remains the same" (1 Cor. 12:4). In the Amplified verison of the Bible they have added to this verse, in parentheses ( ), additional phases of meaning included in the original word, phrase, or clause of the original language. Therefore, we can be confident that this is a faithful rendering of what God wants us to know about His marvelous grace.
The definition of God’s grace that we most frequently hear is, "the unmerited favor of God;" meaning the help and blessings that we receive from God that we have not earned nor deserve. In the following passage of Scripture we will consider the word "grace" from the perspective of what God has enabled us to receive and give.
1 CORINTHIANS 1:1-9.... PAUL, SUMMONED by the will and purpose of God to be an apostle (special messenger) of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes, to the church (assembly) of God which is in Corinth, to those consecrated and purified and made holy in Christ Jesus, [who are] selected and called to be saints (God's people), together with all those who in any place call upon and give honor to the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours: Grace (favor and spiritual blessing) be to you and [heart] peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
4I thank my God at all times for you because of the grace (the favor and spiritual blessing) of God which was bestowed on you in Christ Jesus, [so] that in Him in every respect you were enriched, in full power and readiness of speech [to speak of your faith] and complete knowledge and illumination [to give you full insight into its meaning]. In this way [our] witnessing concerning Christ (the Messiah) was so confirmed and established and made sure in you that you are not [consciously] falling behind or lacking in any special spiritual endowment or Christian grace [the reception of which is due to the power of divine grace operating in your souls by the Holy Spirit], while you wait and watch [constantly living in hope] for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and [His] being made visible to all. And He will establish you to the end [keep you steadfast, give you strength, and guarantee your vindication; He will be your warrant against all accusation or indictment so that you will be] guiltless and irreproachable in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah). God is faithful (reliable, trustworthy, and therefore ever true to His promise, and He can be depended on); by Him you were called into companionship and participation with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
This grace of God was received by the Corinthians so that they would be enabled to understand and speak of the Christian faith; exhibit the gifts of the Holy Spirit; and be well assured that Jesus will keep and defend them to the very end.
We have in the book of Romans a more detailed list of the grace and mercies of God extended unto us, with the appeal to present ourselves unto God to be used as He sees fit and to not allow ourselves to be conformed to this evil world system.
ROMANS 12:1-8.... I APPEAL to you therefore, brethren, and beg of you in view of [all] the mercies of God, to make a decisive dedication of your bodies [presenting all your members and faculties] as a living sacrifice, holy (devoted, consecrated) and well pleasing to God, which is your reasonable (rational, intelligent) service and spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you].
3For by the grace (unmerited favor of God) given to me I warn everyone among you not to estimate and think of himself more highly than he ought [not to have an exaggerated opinion of his own importance], but to rate his ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him. For as in one physical body we have many parts (organs, members) and all of these parts do not have the same function or use, so we, numerous as we are, are one body in Christ (the Messiah) and individually we are parts one of another [mutually dependent on one another]. Having gifts (faculties, talents, qualities) that differ according to the grace given us, let us use them: [He whose gift is] prophecy, [let him prophesy] according to the proportion of his faith; [he whose gift is] practical service, let him give himself to serving; he who teaches, to his teaching; he who exhorts (encourages), to his exhortation; he who contributes, let him do it in simplicity and liberality; he who gives aid and superintends, with zeal and singleness of mind; he who does acts of mercy, with genuine cheerfulness and joyful eagerness.
All that we have and all that we are, that is of any worth, have been given to us by God, and Paul reminds us that we have no reason to be proud of something that we have received, but instead we should be thankful and use it for God’s glory – "Now I have applied all this [about parties and factions] to myself and Apollos for your sakes, brethren, so that from what I have said of us [as illustrations], you may learn [to think of men in accordance with Scripture and] not to go beyond that which is written, that none of you may be puffed up and inflated with pride and boast in favor of one [minister and teacher] against another. For who separates you from the others [as a faction leader]? [Who makes you superior and sets you apart from another, giving you the preeminence?] What have you that was not given to you? If then you received it [from someone], why do you boast as if you had not received [but had gained it by your own efforts]?" (1 Cor. 4:6-7). Jesus is the only way, truth and life for us all, and we receive from Him as we trust and obey Him.