What is grace?
The average believer understands grace to be the unmerited, unearned, undeserved favour of God. While this is not incorrect, it is grossly inadequate to describe grace. Surely there must be a definition that captures the full meaning of grace. As I searched the scriptures, I understood there are different dimensions of grace but we shall focus on only two;
I will define grace from my own personal experience as;
“Grace is the experience of God and all that is God”. Grace is the operation of God’s love, an expression of His attributes; mercy, love, goodness, justice, kindness etc.
To understand grace, we need to take a look at the law first. The law was given through a servant but grace came through the Son. The law talks about what man ought to do but grace reveals God’s kindness to mankind. For the law, righteousness is demanded but grace brings about righteousness. God expressed His love for us by sending His son to die on our behalf because sin cannot limit His infinite love. The demand for justice is that sin be punished but Jesus bore our sins on the cross of calvary. God’s desire was that His laws be written in the hearts of His people. The law was flawed hence Jesus had to come. Whilst under the law, a man had to physically commit adultery with a woman for it to be classified as sin but in the dispensation of grace, if he as much as looked at her lustfully, he had committed adultery in his heart. It means we have greater responsibilities under grace than under the law.
In Luke 18:9-14, the publican went home justified because he acknowledged his sins and asked God for forgiveness unlike the Pharisee who boasted that he was an observer of the law. Since Jesus Christ came and brought God’s grace, does that mean we do not have to obey the laws? In Matthew 5:17 Jesus explained that he did not come to abolish the laws but to fulfil them. A lot of us Christians today are no different from that Pharisee. We see the people of the world and we use our own “moral meters” to measure them and say thank God I am not like that person. Even within the body of Christ, when we see someone fall instead of help them rise, we mock at them.
1 Peter 5:10 talks about several dimensions of grace;
May the God of all grace perfect you, establish you, strengthen you and settle you in Jesus’ name amen.
Two dimensions of Grace
- Saving Grace
Romans 3:20,27 & 28
Titus 2:11 tells us that the grace of God which brings salvation hath appeared to all men. This factual statement is confirmation of the love of God who sent his son to die for mankind. Salvation is available to all but only those who believe in Jesus Christ can access this salvation through faith. God’s grace is far greater than the power of sin. Paul in his letter to the Romans in chapters 1, 2 & 3 described the power of sin and what it can do to a person. Equally, he spoke about the power of grace. For greater understanding, Paul took us back to the origin of sin (Rom 5:12). Therefore, just as sin entered into the world through one man, and death through sin, life and salvation came through the finished work of Christ on the cross.
Romans 5:18 -21
Once God gave the law, it revealed sin as a violation of His will. When sin abounded, grace multiplied. The question then is, shall we continue is sin that grace may abound? (Romans 6:1).
- Enabling Grace
It is the power of God that works in you to accomplish what He has started. You got saved by grace, you received it through faith in Jesus Christ. God started the good work in you and He is committed to continue working in you. The psalmist in Psalms 138:8 prayed to God not to forget the works of His hands. That is, to perfect that which He had started in him. Since we understand salvation to be the finished work of Christ, does that mean once saved forever saved as some preach? No. The Bible in Philippians 2:12 says we should work out our salvation with fear and trembling. Some have misunderstood this to mean we can earn our salvation. Others argue that if salvation is a gift, why do we need to work for it? Notice that Apostle Paul said “work out your salvation” and not work for your salvation. Paul’s message to the church in Philippi was that they needed to exhibit the character traits of God which were deposited in them when they believed and received Jesus Christ through faith. The Spirit of God is working in you to help you resist the things you used to do before you got saved and creating a new behavioural pattern in your life.
As we journey through this world we pray for the grace to live in accordance with God’s will in Jesus name, Amen.