As Christians, we talk a lot about God’s grace. One of the favorite quotes I hear from Christians is that we’re saved by grace…and while that is an awesome truth to remember, do we truly understand the depth of God’s grace?
What is Meant by God’s Grace?
I don’t know how it is where you live, but in Jamaica, a lot of Christians believe that God’s grace originated with the birth of Jesus. If we’re going to understand God’s grace, we must go back to the Garden of Eden and the moment Eve believed the enemy’s lies and ate the forbidden fruit.
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When Eve realized her eyes were opened, she gave the fruit to Adam and he also ate. Both of them had disobeyed God’s law for which the punishment, they had been told, would be death. Had it not been for God’s grace, that would have been the end of humanity.
Related: The Significance of Genesis 3:15
Let’s be honest here, it would have been so easy for God to destroy Adam and Eve and start over with two perfect people, but He didn’t. He put the plan of salvation in place,
“And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel.” Genesis 3:15 NLT
Definitions of Grace
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines grace as “unmerited divine assistance given to humans for their regeneration or sanctification”. This definition is a bit wordy so let’s put it this way: God’s grace is the undeserved kindness extended towards humanity.
The word typically translated as grace in the New Testament is the Greek word cháris. (pronounced khar’-ece). Cháris refers to the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude. It could also have been translated to mean benefit, favor, or gift. According to the Blue Letter Bible, the typical usage of the word cháris was:
“of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues”
God’s grace is not only lavished on us, but it also exerts an influence on us that draws us to Christ through whom we can be saved.
If you think about it for a second, you’ll realize that everyone has been the recipient of God’s grace–to one extent or another. It is because of God’s grace that anyone is still alive today. The Bible says all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). There is not a single person on earth who has perfectly lived up to the will of God, excepting Jesus Christ.
What the Bible Says About God’s Grace
The Bible talks a lot about grace. Even when the word is not used, we can see evidence of God treating people with kindness and favor. For now, let’s look at a few verses on the topic of God’s grace and see what lessons we can learn.
1. Grace is a gift.
God freely lavishes His grace on us. There’s nothing we can do to earn it, but He gives it anyway. God’s grace was not given to us because of our good behavior, status, moral standing, or anything we had done. The gift is given because God loves us.
For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV
2. It brings salvation.
Salvation came for all humanity through the death of Jesus Christ. When Christ died on the cross, it became the doorway to salvation for all who would believe. Salvation is not obtained by our works. It is accessed through the blood of Jesus and is freely accessible to all.
But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8 ESV
3. God’s grace allows us to live godly lives.
It’s one thing to be saved by the grace of God, it’s another for us to continue the work necessary for our sanctification. Just think about it, when you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior, the journey is just beginning. You have to put off your carnal self and strive towards holiness. I’m sure you know by now that the carnal man is strong! But he’s no match for God. It’s the Holy Spirit who accomplishes this work of sanctification by working in us and through us.
For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. Titus 2:11-14 ESV
4. God’s grace is patient.
A lot of people have died believing that Jesus would have returned in their lifetime and I’m pretty sure every generation thinks they’re living in the last days. Yet, the world continues to turn and God continues to tarry, why? It’s because God wants to save as many people as possible. If it were up to Him, nobody would be lost and so He continues to extend His grace towards humanity hoping that we’ll all come to love, honor, and worship Him as He deserves.
The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. 2 Peter 3:9 ESV
5. Everyone has received grace.
We only need to think about the condition of our world to know that everyone has received grace. We all breathe in the air God has created, we have access to the food He provides, even the rains benefit all people (Matthew 5:25).
But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift. Ephesians 4:7 ESV
6. We can’t “outsin” God’s grace.
I know the devil sometimes tries to convince you that your sins are too great to be forgiven. But God’s grace has no measure, as much sin that exists will be covered by an abundance of His grace.
Now the law came in to increase the trespass, but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, Romans 5:20 ESV
As you ponder the meaning of grace, I encourage you to read through this list of verses on what the Bible says about grace. Find them in your Bibles and underline them. Or print them out and keep them for those times when you need a reminder of God’s grace.
Benefits of God’s Grace
As we’ve explored these six characteristics of God’s grace, I know you’ve seen how the benefits of grace. As much as we like to think we’re doing things on our own or in our own strength, it’s all grace. God’s grace gives us the power to fight our battles against the enemy, it gives us the power to forgive those who hurt us. It strengthens us in our faith and teaches us how to live in a way that honors God and brings glory to His name.
As God’s grace works in our lives, we learn how to extend it to others. Through our actions, the grace of God blesses those who come in contact with us and become a testimony to those who want to serve God.
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