Abide in Key Word Studies on Bible Doctrines
Biblical teachings for personal Bible study, daily devotions and sermon preparation with abiding principles and practical applications. Here is a dictionary of the rich terms used in the Christian vocabulary.
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Grace is a charming word, full of beauty. Perhaps no one word describes Christianity better than the word grace.
Grace is the free, divine, unmerited favor of God bestowed upon sinful and undeserving man.
Charis is "that which bestows or occasions pleasure, delight, or causes favorable regard and is applied to people, actions, speech. It can also refer to friendly disposition from which graciousness proceeds. Divine grace lays stress in its freeness and universality, its spontaneous character, and as in the case of God's redemptive mercy, and the pleasure or joy He designs for the recipient" (W. E. Vine).
The word grace most powerfully expresses God's unconditional, unmerited, and uncaused love and favor which He displays toward the sinner.
It pictures a gift freely given to someone who could never afford it, earn it or deserve it.
Grace is the occasion in which God takes the initiative to offer Himself and His salvation freely to sinful man. At Calvary God extended His favor for those who hated Him.
The most perfect expression of God's grace is demonstrated in the giving of His own Son to die as our substitute.
Grace gives us what we do not deserve. It is bestowed freely to the enemy without any expectation of a favor in return.
Grace is an act of pure love on the part of God and emphasizes the helpless spiritual poverty of man, and the limitless kindness of God. It is always unearned, undeserved, and opposed to works as a means of salvation. Grace is absolutely the freeness of the love of God to sinful men.
God's free grace is always set against the backdrop of the total depravity of sinful man. We were "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephesians 2:1). We were under the dominion of "the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience" (Eph. 2:2). "Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest" (Eph. 2:3).
Only in the light of the Scriptures can we properly understand and experience the grace of God personally.
"But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:5-6). Grace was rich in mercy and we were dead in sins. It is all of grace because we were spiritually dead. Literally, Paul writes, "And you He made alive, being dead." Spiritual death is the state of separation from God.
"But God." What a contrast. Every saved sinner is a trophy of "the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus" (Eph. 2:7).
We are not saved by the grace of the church or any religious institution. "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).
The Greek construction in Ephesians 2:8 emphasizes the completed aspect of the action. "You were saved and you continue saved." Grace is the divine source of salvation. Faith is the human response to God’s provision through Jesus Christ. God's grace produces salvation. Man by faith receives it.
Ephesians 2:5, 8-9; Romans 4:4, 16; 5:2, 15; 6:14-15; 11:6; John 1:17, Acts 14:26; Galatians 1:6; 5:4; 2 Peter 3:18; Romans 1:5; 12:6; Ephesians 3:2, 7; 2 Thessalonians 1:12; James 4:6
Abiding Principles and Practical Applications
1. Because we are saved by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, there are no self-made men in heaven. There will be no boasting there. It will only be praise to the Lamb of God who died for us.
2. Because God takes the initiative in our salvation, He alone is the source. You did not earn your salvation because God gave it to you. You did not save yourself because God saved you. It was not because of what you did because God did it all as a gift.
3. Since we are saved by God's free grace works have nothing to do with earning salvation. Good works can never earn salvation; however, salvation will produce good works for God's glory.
4. "Faith" is not a "work." Faith does not merit salvation. It is the means by which a person accepts or receives God's free gift of salvation.
For Further Study
All of Grace
Message by Wil Pounds and all content on this page (c) 2005 by Wil Pounds. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent. Scripture quotations from the New American Standard Bible (c) 1973, and 1995 Update by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.
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"Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)