Defining Grace

By the Grace of God I am what I am, and his grace towards me was not in vain or without effect.  On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the Grace of God that is with me. 1 Cor 15:10

Defining Grace

I could have picked several favorite verses on Grace for this meditation but, the one above, is a great place to start.  It clearly shows that Grace is meant to be influential.  Grace is not only God’s attitude of “unconditional love” for you and me.  It is God’s way of empowering us to be all that He created us to be. This would include the ability to say no to sin, overcome the sinful nature and live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age.  Read Titus 2:11-14 if you have any doubts on what I just said. The cross of Christ paid the price for our sinfulness; but Grace is given to keep us free from sin. Praise His holy name! Speaking of His name, the very name of Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua which means “the Lord saves”. The first reference of the role of Jesus, in the New Testament, is the recorded words of the angel of the Lord, “She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name of Jesus because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21a (emphasis added) Seeing that there is no sin in heaven, the angel must be talking about Christ’s role to set us free from bondage and sin’s rule over us in this life.  In other words, we are not mastered by sin, but mastered by Grace instead! Read Roman 6:14.

So, let’s start building our definition of Grace.  Grace is the unconditional love of God; however, it is more than that.  Grace is the unconditional love of God that influences and empowers you to be the very person He created you to be. So, think about it. What is the most influential and powerful force we know? It is LOVE! The question then is why are so many Christians not walking free from sin. If Grace has appeared to all (Titus 2:11), why then are not all experiencing the effect of Grace in their lives?  It looks like we have three options: Embrace grace, reject grace or ignore grace.  Only the first option will cause the effect of Grace to come alive in you. “But because of his great love (grace) for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions.” Ephesians 2:4-5 A few verses later, “for it is by grace you have been saved through faith.” Ephesians 2:8 Grace saves but, it is through faith.  Faith, with a humble spirit, is what unlocks the door to Grace. But, be careful, because pride locks the door (James 4:6). But wait a minute, I thought Grace was unconditional.  God’s love is unconditional, we have already established that with several scriptures; however, the effect of that love only happens, as with any gift, when it is opened and used and enjoyed. I can give you a car; but, if you do not open the door and drive, you have gained nothing. Nothing happens without faith expressing itself through love (Galatians 5:6b). Faith comes by hearing the words of Christ (Romans 10:17) and abiding or remaining in Christ’s love (John 15: 1-9).  All these verses promise that a committed relationship with Christ will cause you to be influenced in such a way that you are empowered to be something greater than you were before the abiding. Without a deep and meaningful daily life with Christ, you will “miss the grace of God” (Hebrews 12:15) or “receive God’s grace in vain” (2 Corinthians 6:1). 

Grace is more than God’s thoughts of love for you.  It is an influence that can be upon you for greater things, greater than anything this life can offer. Grace is both love and influence, pardon and power. Check out Webster 1828’s definitions of grace.  Just Google “webster 1828 grace” and see how Webster uses the word “influence” to define grace. Strong’s concordance even defines grace as a “divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in life.”

Before I end, I would be remiss if we did not add one more line to our definition of grace.  Without this line you would think that it’s all about you.  It is for you, but not all about you!  It’s all about the Glory of God.  “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). So, here is my final definition of grace or, you could say, Grace in a sentence! Grace is the unconditional love of God that influences and empowers you to be the very person God created you to be, which is just like Jesus for the Glory of God!

J.W. Brinkley 


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