The idea of “Grace” is one that gets tossed around in Christian circles a great deal. For example, many believers think of the word “grace” as a blessing they whisper before chowing down a cheeseburger.
Still, others talk of grace as a condition that might happen when they are hoping for something, if God is gracious, then this will happen…”
Others think of scripture verses like Eph. 2:8, which says, “by grace, you have been saved…” But what kind of understanding should a Christian have?
What is God’s Grace?
The word “Grace” comes from the Hebrew word channan, and the Greek word charis, (we derive our English word, charity, from it). It refers to the act of bestowing gifts of great kindness.
The concept centers around the act of doing something wonderful for someone, not because they requested it or deserved it, but just because one has the willingness and ability to do so. Many theologians refer to this quality as “Unmerited favor.”
There are numerous references to “grace” in the scriptures. For example, in Exodus 34:6 – “The Lord, (is) a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness…”
The thought is that Grace is a part of the very character of who God is.
His mercy, love, patience, and faithfulness toward us as His children is embedded in His very nature. God is grace, just as we might say that God is love or faithful or true. He does not decide to be gracious. He just is gracious.
It is important to remember that the above verse has “gracious” in the verb tense, (as are many other references – over 170 in the Old Testament alone).
This tense is important because it reveals that grace is not just a quality with God, but it is an action, an outpouring of blessing. God’s grace is always an active quality, never a passive one. God is grace because God acts graciously.
God acts graciously, because He at the core of His being, He is grace.
What Does It Mean To Live Under God’s Grace?
If “grace” is defined as the act of unmerited favor, then one must contemplate the numerous ways God shows us His character each day.
Lamentations 3:22 tells us that His mercies are new every morning and that his love never ceases – that is God’s grace at work. When God protects, provides, or even allows another beat of our heart, He is demonstrating Grace.
It is important to remember that a Christian’s salvation is based on grace. We cannot earn salvation or right standing with God. No amount of works can produce the righteousness needed for salvation.
The Bible clearly states that a believer’s justification is a result of the gracious act of God. Romans 3:24 states it simply, that we “are justified byhis grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…”
In addition, the Apostle Paul writes, “but if it (our salvation) is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace”(Rom. 11:6).
Can God’s Grace Run Out?
If God is gracious and He is truly the same; yesterday, today, and forever, then there is no way His grace can end. The believer cannot fall out of grace, no matter what he or she thinks that they may have done.
Even the hardest heart still experiences blessing (grace) every time that they take a breath or feel the warmth of the sun on their faces. The Apostle Paul tells us that “where sin abounds, grace abounds more” (Rom. 5:20).
Believers should embrace the free gift of God and live their lives as if they are justified by it. While a believer may know their shortcomings and failures, God does not acknowledge them.
Once a believer commits himself to accept God’s gift of salvation, at that instant, God replaces our sinful nature with the righteousness of His Son, Jesus Christ.
God sees His nature as our inherited nature, as our righteousness. Basically, believers share in the same standing as Jesus.
Because Christ lives in their hearts, believers are always and will forever be under God’s grace and sin cannot separate them from eternal life.
Too often, Christians tend to take God’s grace (his acts of kindness) for granted. Most people live at hectic paces. Their days are consumed by trivial pursuits, and they forget the many things God does for them.
Like a toddler playing with his favorite toy, many people fail to recognize that if not for the protection and provision of a loving Father, their lives might be completely different, and a lot harder.
When one contemplates the incredible nature of what God does, there is no other option than to live in such a way that the believer becomes a channel for God’s blessing, pointing the way to a God who truly so loves the world, that He would give.