Understanding Grace Part One
by Curt Klingeman
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Grace does not sanction or sanctify sin; it sanctifies people. It empowers believers to live holy lives and do the things of God they cannot possibly do in their own power. It is not some sort of “Get Out of Hell Free” card; nevertheless, we are saved by grace through faith (see Ephesians 2:2-9). Grace was never designed to enable us to get away with doing ungodly acts that we desire to do without consequences. It enables us to do what God wants us to do. When you consider the price Jesus paid, why would anyone consider using grace to satisfy an unlawful lust? There are some misconceptions about grace people have that need correction. What then is grace and what is its function?
The Greek word for “grace” is CHARIS (pronounced khar’-ece), which on a basic level can be defined as unmerited or unearned favor. However, it does not express its full meaning or the heart behind it. It is a gift given by God because of His great love for us, which bestows acceptance that cannot be earned by works. The root word for grace is CHAIRO (pronounced khah’ee-ro), to rejoice or be glad, to be full of cheer or calmly happy. It reveals that it is God’s good pleasure to extend grace to us because He takes great joy in us. That means we can stop struggling with the concept of God accepting us, and quit trying to earn is His love. All we have to do is humbly receive His grace through faith. As a result, it will influence us to be grateful and be holy as He is holy. It causes us to be gracious toward others, as it also teaches us to be merciful. The other renderings of the word “grace” in the Bible also help bring definition to its meaning. They are “acceptable”, “benefit”, “favor”, “gift”, “joy”, “liberality”, “pleasure”, and “thank” (“thanks” or “thankworthy”). While a textbook definition is a good place to start, Scriptural context is imperative in grasping its fuller meaning and what it does in our lives.
Ephesians 2:1-10 is a good place to start: And you hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (KJV). Take time to read this over again, and meditate on it. Grace is personal; therefore, receive grace as a personal gift from the Father.
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