is an exquisite word with an appeal all of its own! The hymn writer
expresses it well:
Grace! 'tis a charming
Harmonious to the ear
Heaven with echo shall
And all the earth shall
The meaning of the word “grace” as used in
a variety of ways in the Bible is not dissimilar to that used in
today’s common speech. It is worthy of note too that in the
Scriptures the word “favours”, used considerably in the Old
Testament, is equivalent to the word “grace” in the New Testament.
Thus it can be said that grace is favour and favour is grace, and in
order to learn the Bible teaching on this great theme equal
attention should be given to the passages where these words appear.
Grace means pure unmerited favour and
kindness, and cannot be treated as something which can be
recompensed. What is done in grace is done graciously and in its
relation to God care must be taken to preserve the exact meaning of
the word. Even though this is taken as an accurate definition it may
still beg the question, “does it give us a firm grasp and clear
understanding of what the “grace of God” really means?”
It has to be recognised of course that the
nature of God is inscrutable and at its best the human mind falls
far short in its understanding of what God is in His essential
being. In Rom 11:34, Paul asks, “For
who hath known the mind of the Lord? Or who hath been His counsellor?”
How blessed we are as the children of God
that even though the heights of the knowledge of God’s nature are
unreachable, the Holy Spirit through the Scriptures would teach us
something of the breathtaking expanse of God’s redeeming grace.
Peter in 1 Pet
5:10 writes that God is the “God of
all grace who hath called us into His eternal glory by Christ
Jesus”. The divine disposition of grace is the very essence
of God’s nature, seen in every Person of the Godhead.
John in the first chapter of his Gospel
describes the Lord Jesus as “full of grace
and truth”. The writer of the Hebrew epistle gives the Holy
Spirit the title of the “Spirit of grace”.
It is through grace that the Godhead in their eternal counsels
purposed the great work of redemption so man could be saved from his
fallen and helpless condition under sin.
The undertaking of divine grace in man’s
salvation can be looked at in a four-fold way:
(1). God saves the sinner by grace.
Paul tells us in Eph 2:8-9, “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”.
In his letter to Titus it is the same message, “Not
by works righteousness that we have done, but according to His mercy
He saves us…….that being justified by His grace we should be
made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Through
the vicarious death of the Lord Jesus on the cross God has eternally
settled the question regarding the sin of the world, past, present,
and future. He is now able and willing for as long as He extends His
“Day of Grace” to offer by grace a free pardon to the soul that
comes to Him for salvation with faith and trust in the Saviour and
His atoning work at Calvary.
The hymn writer bears testimony to the
'Twas grace that wrote my
In life’s eternal book.
'Twas grace that gave me
to the Lamb
Who all my sorrows took.
(2). God keeps by grace those whom
The grace of God that saves is the same
grace which keeps. If it were no so God’s salvation would have no
value whatsoever. How assuring are the words of the Lord Jesus, “I
give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither
shall any man pluck them out of my hand”. Paul was fully
persuaded that “He is able to keep that
which I have committed unto Him against
that day” (2
Tim 1:12). The grace that keeps us is underwritten by God’s
power. Peter confirms this 1 Pet 1:5,
“who are kept by the power of God through
faith unto salvation”.
(3). God instructs us in grace how we
should live in the world.
2:11-12, Paul tells us that ”The
grace of God brings 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”.
(4). God explains that the wonder of His
grace will be revealed eternally to those who are saved.
What then is in the mind of God for the
people of God? Eph 2:7 gives the
precise answer, “That in the ages to come
He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness
toward us through Christ Jesus”. A glorious prospect!
The last verse of John Newton’s lovely
hymn, “Amazing grace” points us to the Day of God:
When we’ve been there ten
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no fewer days to
sing God’s praise,
Than when we first began.
As we journey on to that glorious time may
we all prove the triumphs of God’s grace in each of our lives for
His Name’s sake. “Where sin abounded, grace
did much more abound”, Rom 5:20.