In the last post we talked about how some people are stretching the definition of grace to mean that there are no consequences to sin. This is of course untrue.[featured-image single_newwindow=”false” alt=”Amazing Grace License to sin?”]Image from Dollar Photo Club Created in Canva[/featured-image]
As Christians, we should all be very thankful for God’s grace. However, I’ve found there is some confusion surrounding what grace actually is. This confusion may be leading people to use God’s grace as license to sin, and participate in some very unhealthy behaviors. Unhealthy in spirit, soul, and body…..
Most Christians I know would define grace as: God’s unmerited favor. Which it is. However, I would suggest that this definition is far from a complete one. Or some may say grace is not getting what we deserve. That’s not grace. That’s mercy.
The word translated grace in the New Testament is Charis. Strong’s # 5485. The Strong’s concordance uses Thayer’s and Smith’s bible dictionary to define Charis or Grace as:
“God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues.”
In other words, Grace is God teaching us what we need to know. It is his divine influence on the human heart. It’s how we grow into spiritual maturity. Is this unmerited favor? Yes it is, because God is the one that initiates this influence. We simply make ourselves available and respond to his initiative.
If it weren’t for grace no one would be saved. (Ephesians 2:8) God’s grace is responsible for our election, our calling, our justification, and glorification. (Romans 8:29-30)
The first cause for all this in the believer’s heart is God’s grace, or his divine influence on our hearts. God initiates, we respond.
Sometimes it’s best to let the bible be its own dictionary. I think the best definition of grace in the bible is (Philippians 2:13) “for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” God working in us. His holy influence on our hearts. That’s grace. I encourage everyone to consider this definition of grace as you read and study.
Lets’ take a well known passage of scripture and apply this definition, Paul says that his thorn in the flesh was a “messenger from satan”. He asked God to remove it. God’s reply was: “My grace is sufficient for you,” (2 Corinthians 12:7-9)
I would suggest that Paul’s thorn in the flesh may have been his temptation to sin. (Romans 7:19) He didn’t want to struggle with it anymore. But God’s reply was: “My grace [my divine influence on your heart] is sufficient.” It’s as if God were saying: “I’ve taught you how to handle it, now man up, and do what you know is right.”
Paul concludes this: “I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) Compare this to (Philippians 2:13) above where we see God working in and through the believer.
So, let’s not let a watered-down definition of grace be our license to sin and compromise our health. Grace is an incredible gift from God. Soak it up. Let him be your teacher and grow you from the inside out. Enjoy his covering, and protection. You’ll be stronger in spirit, soul, and body as a result. (1 Thessalonians 5:23)[Tweet “”Grace is God teaching us what we need to know.” David Sandstrom”]
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