Grace is the most important concept in the Bible, Christianity, and the world. It is most clearly expressed in the promises of God revealed in Scripture and embodied in Jesus Christ himself.
Grace is most needed and best understood in the midst of sin, suffering, and brokenness. We live in a world of earning, deserving, and merit, and the result of these human traits is judgment. That’s why everyone wants and needs grace. Judgment kills. Only grace brings life.
While everyone desperately needs it, grace is not about us. Grace is about God: his un-coerced initiative and pervasive, extravagant demonstrations of care and favor. Michael Horton writes, “In grace, God gives nothing less than Himself. Grace, then, is not a third thing or substance mediating between God and sinners, but is Jesus Christ in redeeming action.”
(dictionary.com) (in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.
a: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
b: a virtue coming from God
c: a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace
The word grace is used in the Old Testament, depending on which translation or version you read, between 4, in the New Revised Standard Version, and 39 times in the King James Version. Grace is in the New Testament between 118 times in the Revised Standard Version to 131 times in the King James.
The Greek word that’s used most in the New Testament and translated grace is charis (pronounced cars) - that which bestows or occasions pleasure, delight, or causes favorable regard; it is applied to beauty, or gracefulness or person, or speech.
Why is Grace Mentioned So Many More Times in the New Testament?
The Old Testament or old covenant was a covenant of law where in order to be justified by God you had to obey it, to the letter, in other words you had to work to gain favor or grace. This law was the Mosaic Law found in the Old Testament Books of Exodus through Deuteronomy. This requirement of obedience, to the letter, in order to gain favor, was done away with when Jesus gave His life as a sacrifice for mankind and his blood sealed a new covenant or New Testament.
Hebrews 9:11-14 (HCSB)11 But the Messiah has appeared, high priest of the good things that have come. In the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands (that is, not of this creation),12 He entered the most holy place once for all, not by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood, having obtained eternal redemption.13 For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a young cow, sprinkling those who are defiled, sanctify for the purification of the flesh,14 how much more will the blood of the Messiah, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse our consciences from dead works to serve the living God?
The Gift of Grace was Much Greater than the Sin
Romans 5:15 (HCSB) But the gift is not like the trespass. For if by the one man’s trespass the many died, how much more have the grace of God and the gift overflowed to the many by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ. (Emphasis mine)
"The many" is the same group who were affected by Adam's transgression and therefore died. God's grace and the gift in the sphere of Christ's grace abound to all men. Adam's act brought death. Divine grace abounds to those affected by Adam's act.
Many transgressions brought God's gracious gift into operation, and its outcome or goal is acquittal. How powerful must be this gracious gift when it is directed toward such an end! The reign of death, because of the trespass of the one, is contrasted with the reign in life—on the part of those who receive the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness. The abundance of grace has to do with all that God has accomplished and promised to do in Christ. Those who are receiving God's abounding favor toward them in Christ and the righteousness which he provides will reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Because of what the one man, Jesus Christ, accomplished, death no longer reigns, but men reign in life. Why are there not as many who reign in life as there were under the reign of death? Because the abundance of grace and the gift of righteousness were rejected by many rather than received. - The Wycliffe Bible Commentary
What Does This Grace Produce?
Grace produces righteousness. The fact that the righteousness of Christ is bestowed upon those who believe means not only that they are declared righteous but also that they belong to the reign and the triumph of grace. Grace reigns with a goal in view-eternal life. Eternal life is a quality of life; it is living by God's life and for God. Believers have this life now. But eternal life means not only living by God, and for him, but in an environment that he has made perfect—free from all sin. Hence eternal life is the believer's destiny as well as immediate reality. How will this life be achieved? It will be achieved through a person—through Jesus Christ our Lord.
For us to succeed in this life we need the abundance of grace and the righteousness that God makes available.
Romans 3:22-24 (HCSB) 22 —that is, God’s righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe, since there is no distinction. 23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. 24 They are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.
We can’t measure God’s grace because our sinfulness has limits but God’s grace has no limits.
Romans 5:17 (HCSB) Since by the one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
Romans 5:15-17 (HCSB)15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if by the one man’s trespass the many died, how much more have the grace of God and the gift overflowed to the many by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ.16 And the gift is not like the one man’s sin, because from one sin came the judgment, resulting in condemnation, but from many trespasses came the gift, resulting in justification.17 Since by the one man’s trespass, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive the overflow of grace and the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
By Rick Warren
“God knows what we are made of; he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14 GNT).
Your failures don’t surprise God. He expects them. He knows what we’re made of—because he created us.
The Bible says, “God knows what we are made of; he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:14 GNT).
God won’t stop loving us when we mess up. The central message of the Bible is this: God doesn’t love you because of who you are or what you’ve done but because of who he is and what he has done. God made you. He loves you. It's settled! You can't make God love you more. You can't make him love you less. He loves you just as much on your bad days as he does on your good days. His love is not performance based.
The Bible has a word for this. It’s called grace—and it’s absolutely amazing. God looks down and says, "I choose to love you. And you can't make me stop loving you." Even when we’re ridiculously bad, God won’t stop loving us. It truly is amazing grace. When you understand his grace, you can relax about your failures and have the confidence to take more risks.
You may have come to God multiple times for forgiveness on the same issue. Maybe you’re not sure you deserve his love and grace. And you’re sure that God has grown tired of your constant efforts at change.
But you can relax. God never tires of a conversation with you. He’s never too busy. No matter how many times you come to him for forgiveness, he’ll be waiting with open arms.
You may have grown up in a home where conditional love was the norm. Your parents’ affections may have been based on your academic, athletic, or social successes. When you failed in one of those areas, you felt the loss of your family’s love.
Relax. That’s not how God deals with you.
The Bible says, "[God] canceled the debt, which listed all the rules we failed to follow. He took away that record with its rules and nailed it to the cross" (Colossians 2:14 NCV).
The Christian life isn’t a mistake-free life, but it can be a guilt-free life. God understands your failures, and he loves you anyway.
That’s amazing grace!