There are several definitions for “grace” that many of us are familiar with. Below are often used definitions:
1. Standard definition: add distinction or dignity to; bestow honor or favor on, upgrade.
2. God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense
3. Unmerited favor
4. God gives to us what we do not deserve.
5. Divine influence which operates in humans to regenerate and sanctify, to inspire
virtuous impulses and impart strength to endure trials and resist temptation.
We can agree that all of these definitions have some merit. However, let us look more closely at the scriptural viewpoint of grace.
According to scripture, grace provides us a way of escape. Genesis 6:5-8 speaks of grace sparing Noah and his family: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” This is something that many people do not want to think about- God will judge sin. The good news is that we- like Noah- can find grace in God’s sight.
Jesus Himself said the last days would be like the days of Noah. If we look honestly at our world it is easy to see the wickedness that is prevalent. Believers are promised a way of escape. I Thessalonians 5:4-9 says, “But ye brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Not only does grace help us prepare for our eternal future, it also gets us through the things we deal with in this life. Certainly we can apply these words spoken to the Apostle Paul to our own situation, “My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness.”(II Corinthians 12: 9) We can rejoice in the simple fact that when we are weak our Lord is our strength.
Grace keeps God at the forefront of our Christian experience. Ephesians 2 is clear about the truth that we are not saved by our works- we are saved by grace. Salvation is absolutely a gift from God and we can in no way save ourselves. Romans 5:2 says, “…we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Isn’t it great to know that we stand in His grace, not in our own abilities?
It is of utmost importance for us to realize grace does not give us a license to sin. Instead, grace gives us what we need to live a holy life. Romans 5:20 says, “Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” Notice- the law exposes the offense. Where sin abounds, grace does much more abound. So, should we sin to make grace abound?
Romans 6:1-2 answers the question: “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?”
Add to this, Titus 2:11-12, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.” The same grace that saves us is the same grace that teaches us to live a holy life in a dark, sinful world.
No matter which definition of grace we favor, grace is truly amazing. The grace of God really is sufficient to steer us through this life in order for us to arrive safely to our destination- Heaven.
Dave Snyder is an Ordained Bishop with the Church of God – Cleveland, Tennessee. Before entering the ministry on a full-time basis, he was a school teacher. He also coached middle school basketball for eight years.
Dave and his wife, Sara, have two children — Craig and Karen. They also have one ten year old granddaughter — Breanna.
Dave and Sara pastored in West Virginia for thirty-six years. Sara is now retired from the banking industry, and Dave is retired from pastoring. However, Dave currently serves as prison Chaplain for the West Virginia Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Writing essays, articles, and devotionals is a real passion for Dave. He also enjoys playing musical instruments and singing.