What Does The Bible Say About... The Grace Of God
The Greek word translated “grace” is charis. It is defined as: “good will, loving kindness, favor, benefit, bounty, recompense, reward” (Thayer). “Benefit, favor, gift, liberality, pleasure, joy, thank” (Strongs). It is translated by several English words in the New Testament: benefit (2 Cor. 1:15), favor (Luke 1:30), gift (2 Cor. 8:4), grace (Eph. 2:8), gracious (Luke 4:22), joy (Philemon 1:7), liberality (1 Cor. 16:3), pleasure (Acts 24:27), thank (Luke 6:32-34), thanked (Rom. 6:17), thanks (2 Cor. 9:15), thankworthy (1 Peter 2:19).
The word charis simply has to do with favor, benefit or loving kindness that is shown by one toward another: whether it be God to man or man to man. The word itself does not indicate whether the grace (benefit, favor) is deserved or not deserved, earned or not earned, merited or not merited. These concepts must be determined by the context in which charis is used. I point this out because almost without exception when people are asked what “grace” means, the response is: “the unmerited, unearned, favor of God.” But that definition is not found in the word itself.
+RZ 7KH :RUG *UDFH ,V 8VHG ,Q 7KH 6FULSWXUHV
The church at Corinth took up collections and bestowed grace (favor, bounty, good will) upon the needy (2 Cor. 8:6,7,19; 1 Cor. 16:1-2). This action is called their liberality — their grace, favor, toward others (1 Cor. 16:3).
• When we speak wholesome words, it graces
(benefits, favors) the hearers (Eph. 4:29).
• We are to sing with grace (loving-kindness, pleasure,
joy, good will) in our hearts (Col. 3:16).
• Our speech is to always be with grace (benefit, favor,
bounty) (Col. 4:6).
It is a good thing that our hearts be established with grace (loving kindness, favor) and not be carried about with many strange false doctrines that would prohibit such bounty (Heb. 13:9).
There are examples of God bestowing grace upon individuals that is not connected with salvation. When the angel Gabriel announced the birth of Jesus to Mary, he said, “Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour [grace] with God” (Luke 1:30). As Jesus grew as a child we learn that he “...increased in wisdom and stature, and in favour [grace] with God and man” (Luke 2:52). The word favor in these two verses is the Greek word charis.
The word “grace” does not always indicate that which is good and honorable. It is used sometimes in a bad sense such as when one does a favor for another hoping to gain something in return. In Acts 24:27 and 25:9, we find that both Felix and Festus were “willing to shew the Jews a pleasure” [grace, benefit], but they did so intending to benefit from it themselves, not because of any goodness in their heart.
:KDW 7KH %LEOH 6D\V $ERXW *UDFH
The New Testament is filled with references to the “grace of God.” We find:
³7KH ZRUG RI KLV JUDFH´ ²$FWV
As Paul and Barnabas preached the word of the Lord, they did so with great boldness. The Gospel message was confirmed by miracles, referred to as “signs, wonders, various miracles.” God’s grace/ favor was extended to sinful man through the means of teaching men what to do to receive forgiveness of sins and how to live as a Christian (Titus 2:11-12). The word of grace “is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified” (Acts 20:32). This is only achieved by learning God’s WORD (John 6:44-45).
³7KH JRVSHO RI WKH JUDFH RI *RG´ ²$FWV Paul had a job to do. In the face of grave danger to his life, he said “neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.” His job was to attest to, affirm, cause to be believed, give witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Notice, the emphasis is on the Gospel, the means by which God has chosen to save sinful man. The preaching of the Gospel is God’s power to save (1 Cor. 1:18,21; James 1:18,21). “The riches of his grace” —Ephesians 1:7; 2:7. Man has redemption through Christ’s blood, “the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace.” Paul writes of the “exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” It’s only because of the riches of God’s grace that Christ died for us on the cross. But Christ’s death is of no value to man unless he is taught it, believes it, and responds to it in faithful obedience. “Ye see then how that by works [obedience to God] a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24). So, God’s love prompted Him to do man a favor, extend to him the benefit (called grace) of salvation.
³7KH WKURQH RI JUDFH´ ²+HEUHZV
. “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” God reigns supreme upon his throne in heaven. It is the source of His loving kindness, mercy, grace, forgiveness. It is from heaven that he extends to man a great benefit/favor (grace) —salvation from sin. But, man has to accept the offer and obey God. Sadly, most do not accept it and obey it.
³%\ WKH JUDFH RI *RG´ -HVXV GLHG IRU HYHU\ PDQ ² +HEUHZV
Because of God’s great love, mercy and grace, Jesus willingly went to the cross to provide the means whereby man could be saved.
³*UDFH DQG WUXWK FDPH E\ -HVXV &KULVW´ ²-RKQ Moses was the great lawgiver to the Israelites (Deut. 5:1-3). Jesus is the great lawgiver to the whole world. Moses himself said of the Christ, “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; ... And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him” (Deut. 18:15,19; cf. Acts 3:2223). Grace was extended in the Old Testament, such as Noah (Gen. 6:8) and Israel (Acts 7:46). All faithful Christians (Eph. 2:8; Rom. 3:24) enjoy God’s bountiful grace.
But because of the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, grace is extended to all mankind (Titus 2:11). But, it’s no good unless man learns it, believes it, and obeys it.
7KHUH $UH 0DQ\ 2WKHU 8VHV 2I 7KH :RUG *UDFH
One can find it (Heb. 4:16), see it (Acts 11:23), receive it (Rom. 1:5), stand in it (Rom. 5:2; 1 Peter 5:12), continue in it (Acts 13:43), grow in it (2 Peter 3:18), believe because of it (Acts 18:27), and have consolation and good hope because of it (2 Thess. 2:16). We also have faith, love, and the hope of heaven because of God’s grace (Col. 1:4-6). Grace makes us spiritually fruitful in every good work because of the knowledge of the truth God’s grace provides (2 Cor. 9:8; Col. 1:10).
Grace can: abound (Rom. 5:20; 6:1; 2 Cor. 9:8), reign (Rom. 5:21), be given (Rom. 12:3,6; 15:5; 1 Cor 1:4; 3:10; Eph. 4:7; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5), be perceived (Gal. 2:9), be with us (Rom. 16:20,24; 2 Cor. 13:14), be bestowed (1 Cor. 15:10; 2 Cor. 8:1), and be multiplied through the knowledge of God (2 Peter 1:2).
One can be: called into it (Gal. 1:6), called by it (Gal. 1:15), recommended to it (Acts 14:26), saved by it (Eph. 2:5,8), saved through it (Acts 15:11), justified by it (Rom. 3:24; Titus 3:7), and strong in it (2 Tim. 2:1).
Men can also: frustrate it (Gal. 2:21), show insult to it (Heb. 10:29), receive it in vain (2 Cor. 6:1), fail in it (Heb. 12:15), and fall from it (Gal. 5:4).
Grace has been made available to all men and thereby the offer of salvation (Titus 2:11). It teaches us how to live faithfully according to God’s word (Titus 2:12). We have access to grace by faith (Rom. 5:2). We learn that grace is sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9), and that grace will be brought when Christ comes again (1 Peter 1:13).
(YHU\RQH &DQ (QMR\ *RG¶V *UDFH
If one will believe/trust God and obey his Word they can enjoy God’s grace. Without obedience, no one will receive God’s grace. Jesus said in Matthew 7:21-23: ”Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” This passage reveals that many thought they were right with God, they thought they were obeying God, but found out on judgment day they were not (vs.22-23).
They had a clear conscience and felt they were saved. But that was their problem, they believed what man told them to believe and never searched the Scriptures for themselves. They were following man, not God. Every individual is to do their own study, learn God’s will, and obey God’s will. Don’t put your trust in man, but instead, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thess. 5:21). This point is made very clear in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 where we read of “...false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” Don’t fall prey to those who may “mean well” but end up leading you down the wrong path. Your soul is at stake. Be like the Bereans who “searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). Love the truth enough to obey it no matter what. “...Give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall” (2 Peter 1:10).
Will you Believe the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength (Mark 12:30)? Will you Repent of your sins, without which you will never be forgiven (Luke 13:3,5; Acts 17:30)? Will you Confess faith in Jesus as God’s only begotten Son and that he is the savior of the world (Matt. 10:32-33; Acts 8:37; Rom. 10:9-10)? If you believe, repent and confess, you can be Baptized in water in order to receive the forgiveness of your sins (Acts 2:38; Mark 16:16; 1 Peter 3:21). Why not now?