What is Grace?
We use the term quite liberally, especially in sermons preached from the pulpit when talking about the ‘Grace of God’, but do we truly know what it actually means? According to the original Greek versions of Scripture, the term ‘grace’ generally tends to be translated as favour or good-will. This, in terms of the Father’s grace towards us, means that His favour towards us allowed us to receive His mercy and Salvation when we have done nothing to deserve it.
Another meaning of ‘grace’ is unmerited favour. This is fairly self-explanatory, but I believe that it fits very well with our lives as Christians, and the fact that we are able to be Christians at all. Unmerited favour means that God has looked upon us with unsurpassed kindness and compassion and given us His Son to die for us on the cross, despite the fact that we have done absolutely nothing to earn it, and are so undeserving of such staggering love it defies description. So many churches these days preach that we need to do certain things to add to Christ’s unmerited sacrifice, in order to please the Father and get into heaven. One of the biggest offenders in this area is the Catholic church, which tells the members of its congregation that they need to go to confessional, or pray a certain prayer a certain number of times in order to be ‘absolved’ of their sins, or even pray for those in ‘purgatory’, so that they can earn enough favour to enter heaven.
This is nothing but a lie. We, the human race are unworthy sinners, and nothing that we can do will ever make up for the fact that we cannot enter heaven on our own merit. I know it. You know it. Every single person on the entire planet knows it, despite all protestations to the contrary. This is why it is the unmerited, unsurpassed kindness and compassion of the Lord Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father that allows us to even have a chance of standing before the Father on Judgment Day without being vaporised by His holy Presence. God’s grace, which he gives to the truly humble, is the epitome of unmerited favour upon those that have done and can do absolutely nothing to ever be worthy of such a gift.
7And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 8For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 9And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2 Corinthians 12:7-9 (KJV)
The above passage demonstrates another facet of the grace of God, namely that which refers to the blessing part of the definition. Paul was beset by the devil at a time where he was being given so many revelations of God’s Word through His Holy Spirit. The Lord allowed this thorn in Paul’s flesh, in order to show him that His grace, His unmerited blessing, was sufficient for him to see him through the trials that he faced. This is no more relevant to us today than it was back in the time of the nascent Church. Whenever we face strife, or trials, or anything that the evil one throws at us on a daily basis, we can look to this Scripture, and many others like it, and know that God’s grace, His favour and blessing, are there for us in order to bring us through the fire and make us all the stronger for it. All we need to do is look to our Father for all our needs; not just when we happen to face a particularly difficult time in our lives, but in everyday living as well.
Satan isn’t going to limit his attacks against the children of God to certain times when he thinks, “Oh, I think I’m going to cause this particular person an inordinate amount of strife and difficulty for this period of time, and then leave them alone afterwards”. No; Satan can and will come against us every single day, and will take obscene pleasure in watching us flounder. He wants us to fail; he wants us to get so caught up in looking at the storm and the waves and trying to fix things in our flesh so that he can have some semblance of victory. But look at Paul, look at David, look at any person in Scripture where they had to go through the trials and difficulties of their lives and you will see that when they put their trust in the Heavenly Father, His grace was sufficient for them every single time.
The grace of God is an amazing and powerful thing, and I’ve only just scratched the surface of what it actually means myself. But I cannot deny the power of His grace in my life, and in the lives of those around me. All you have to do is trust in the Lord, pray to Him, and His grace will fill you and see you through each and every day.
May the Lord bless you and keep you by His abundant grace!