Divine grace

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Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.

--Colossians 4:6

The Bible tells us that we should speak with grace in an appealing and engaging way.

A general definition of "grace" is; "mercy; clemency; pardon: an act of grace." [ Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 28 Jun. 2007. ]

To even begin to understand God's grace, we must first realize God is so pure and Holy that, before Him, all sin is a filthy stain which must be wiped out. On our own merits, we stand condemned before Him.

  • Romans 3:23 - "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God"
  • Romans 6:23 - "For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord"

Some find using G.R.A.C.E. as an acronym for "God's Riches at Christ's Expense" to be helpful in remembering that God's gift of eternal life is made available at the expense of the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Here are two of the numerous Bible verses proclaiming the principle of Grace.

  • John 3:16-22: (16) For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (17) For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (18) He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (19) And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (20) For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. (21) But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God. (22) After these things came Jesus and his disciples into the land of Judaea; and there he tarried with them, and baptized.
  • Titus 2:11-14: (11) For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, (12) Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; (13) Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; (14) Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

The Bible has a good deal to say about both Faith (sometimes called belief) and Obedience (sometimes called "works") in connection with grace and salvation. Some passages in the Bible may focus more on one or the other, depending on the point being made in the context of the passage in question.

We should be careful not to let a verse out of context, failure to recognize a seemingly extreme emphasis for the purpose of a special point, or our unfamiliarity with particular biblical writer's style confuse us into thinking that we can erase our sins by the merit of our own works, or the power of our own Faith, or both.

A good balance in understanding the roles of Grace, Faith, and Obedience may be obtained by reading James 2:17-24, Ephesians 2:4-10, and Mark 16:15-16.

  • James 2 - Even though the word "grace" is not specifically used, please notice the word "imputed", in verse 23. "Impute" is defined in theological terms as; "4.Theology. to attribute (righteousness, guilt, etc.) to a person or persons vicariously; ascribe as derived from another." [Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 28 Jun. 2007.]
Abraham did not make himself righteous.

When Abraham's faith was made complete ("perfect") by his works, God granted him that status of righteousness. The strong emphasis on works in this passage is not to deny God's grace, or eliminate the role of faith. It is used to make plain the sad condition of those who have a belief in God; but are unwilling to put their faith into action and change their manner of living.

  • Ephesians 2 - This passage clearly shows that, while both Faith and Works are important, it is only by the power of God's Grace that we can be granted eternal life**, freed from the death due us because of our sins. Even when the writer uses the term "through faith", he follows it with "and that not of yourselves". This stresses that faith, even though indispensable, is only a conduit for salvation and not the source.

When one reads the whole book of Ephesians, a call to action is one of the major themes. Therefore, it is most fitting that verse 9 pointedly declares "not of works, lest any man should boast". This helps us understand that while we are expected to act, these actions are a matter of obedience and not earnings.

  • Mark 16 - When Jesus told his followers to preach the gospel, he did not say those who believed and were baptized saved themselves! He said the believer would "be saved", when they showed that faith by allowing themselves to be buried in water.
[Vine's***: BAPTISM “1.baptisma 'baptism,' consisting of the processes of immersion, submersion and emergence]

This burial in and raising from plain, ordinary water is symbolic of the fact that the believer recognizes he or she is spiritually dead because of their own sin. It is a visible demonstration of an inward determination that only by trusting in the Grace of God through Jesus Christ, can we be raised to eternal life.(see Eph 2)

In a believing baptism, we absolutely deny that we could ever be free from sin through our own efforts; and we accept the Grace of God.

While it is true that we receive God's Grace when we obey him in faith; the saving power comes from the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ and not from us!

[The initial entry here is copied by the author, from a corresponding page on the same subject of God's Grace at http://www.purereligion.net/grace.htm also by the author]

  • (American Standard Version - used specifically in this instance because word used in the KJV for "condemned" [starting with D] might block this page to those using clean language filters)
    • (quickened basically means "made alive")
      • ( Vines Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words”© 1984, 1996 Thomas Nelson Inc.)

DavidDeering 17:55, 29 August 2007 (EDT)

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