By Toney Smith
We often sing songs which speak of God's grace to mankind. Just where would we be without Biblical grace? Grace was one of the keywords used as Paul penned the letters to the church in the first century (Romans 1:5; 1 Corinthians 1:3; 2 Corinthians 1:2; Galatians 1:3; etc.). He very often began his letters to the congregations by stating, "GRACE BE TO YOU AND PEACE FROM GOD THE FATHER, AND FROM OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST" (Galatians 1:3).
BUT WHAT IS GRACE? Many in the religious world take a false view of this beautiful gift from God. The word grace in the Hebrew language means favor; especially of God's graciousness to men, given by the source of blessings upon those in need of said blessings. The Greek word for grace is CHARIS, and it is found 156 times in the New Testament. It means the bestowing of blessings to the needy the things which are needed or lacking. VINES EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY page 509 and 510 says that grace is that which bestows or occasions pleasure, delight, or causes favorable regard. It can be said that grace is that which God does for men that they could not do for themselves.
HOW MAY PEOPLE TREAT GRACE? Grace can be received in vain (2 Corinthians 6:1), it can be frustrated (Galatians 1:6-8; 5:4). Jude verse 4 says that some turn grace into lasciviousness by trying to make it mean something which God did not intend. Some try to make grace a self-serving thing. On the other hand, grace can be received and used in a proper way. Men can grow and abound in God's blessing. "But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever" (2 Peter 3:18).
SOME THINGS WHICH GRACE CANNOT DO. Grace cannot erase conditions of an active faith which involve repentance and an individual response to the gospel of Christ (Romans 6:17-18; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 6:1-6). Grace cannot cancel out the punishment for the unbelieving and the unfaithful (Revelation 21:8; Acts 17:30; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Grace will not exempt one from repentance (Luke 13:3, 5; Matthew 3:8; 1 John 1:9).
Every person needs God's grace, and we must accept it through an active faith (Hebrews 11:6). We must obey the teachings given through the Word which is a product of God’s grace. This information demonstrates God’s love and kindness toward us. His grace provides a means of forgiveness from our sins (repentance and obedience). The very thing that man cannot do for himself.
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