Grace! What is this?

by Rev Gary Green
Four Corner Ministries


GEG-GraceWhat-Is-01Ephesians 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast

When we first turn to Ephesians 2, the first thing we notice is that we are confronted with a whole list of spiritual-sounding words: grace, saved, faith, gift, and works. Even those of us who have been on the path way of faith in God’s awhile may not clearly grasp the full meaning of these words so we will firstly try to bring you to a deeper understanding concerning the word GRACE as used in the New Testament.

Grace biblically defined

Strong’s Concordance reference number 5485.

Charis, (spoken as khar’-ece); from G5463

GEG-GFX-Grace-02  Graciousness: – (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstr. or concr).

GEG-GFX-Grace-02  lit., fig. or spiritual; especially. the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude):–acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace (-ious), joy liberality, pleasure, thank (-s, -worthy).

Definition: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

Main Entry: 1 grace  
Pronunciation: ‘grAs
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Old French, from Latin gratia favor, charm, thanks, from gratus pleasing, grateful; akin to Sanskrit grnAti he praises

1a: unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification
1b : a virtue coming from God
1c : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace
2aAPPROVALFAVOR – stayed in his good graces
2barchaic : MERCYPARDON
2c : a special favor : PRIVILEGE – each in his place, by right, not grace, shall rule his heritage — Rudyard Kipling
2d : disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency
2e : a temporary exemption : REPRIEVE
3a : a charming or attractive trait or characteristic
3b : a pleasingly graceful appearance or effect : CHARM
3c : ease and suppleness of movement or bearing
4 : used as a title of address or reference for a duke, a duchess, or an archbishop
5 : a short prayer at a meal asking a blessing or giving thanks
6pluralcapitalized : three sister goddesses in Greek mythology who are the givers of charm and beauty
7 : A musical trill, turn, or appoggiatura
8a : sense of propriety or right <had the grace not to run for elective office — Calvin Trillin
8b : the quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful

synonym see MERCY

Charis was basically used in secular Greek in an aesthetic sense, but it also had an ethical side.


The New Testament writers drew upon this usage to formulate part of the biblical grace to which we are accustomed. In secular Greek charis could also, but not as frequently, be used to indicate kindness, generosity, and helpfulness. Thus, even in secular usage, charis connotes a benevolence that shows favor to inferiors.

Charis needed one more sense to be ready for biblical use. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia makes this interesting comment: It may be added that in later Greek charis also had the sense of force or power that was affecting human life with supernatural influences.

This sense was used in the NT: grace became the power of God to enable Christians to live the new life in Christ (the Anointed on Jesus).

So, biblical grace is much more than (approval, favour or privilege) because its foundation and source are in God. However it would be incorrect to say that the biblical grace has no connection to its secular usage. However, with greater dimension in two areas:

It is the single most important aspect of our spiritual and eternal salvation.

Grace was not the result of the ability of the person as in a secular perspective. In the Biblical meaning Grace reflected “God” His Love and His Ability, His Mercy and His Kindness, in fact Biblical grace had nothing to do with what we had or could do, and this Grace was solely dependant on God.

Hence it becomes something which is completely and totally unmerited to have yet we have it.

As define in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

1a : unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification

1b : a virtue coming from God

1c : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace

The Apostle Paul alone uses word of grace 101 times. Essentially, his usage of grace has given us its unique biblical application. The seven other writers together use the word fifty-one times.

Romans 6: 3, 11, 18
Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? . . . Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. . . . And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness.

1 Peter 2: 24
Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness by whose stripes you were healed.

The death on the cross of Calvary by Christ’s (the Anointed on Jesus) becomes the instrument which enables God to give us grace. So grace is not without cost.

In fact it would have to be the most expensive gift you will ever receive. Not only did grace cost the life of Jesus of Nazareth, but it also costs us our lives if we are to receive it!

When we break His law, we are indebted to Him. The penalty of breaking His law is death. If we pay the penalty, we die, ending our indebtedness, but it also ends our potential, stops our growth, and perhaps — God forbid — keeps us from entering God’s Kingdom. That would be the total end of everything!

However, embracing the Good News of Jesus the Christ & confession of that belief followed by repentance, God permits us to claim the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sin.

He allows the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to substitute for us.



Grace does not stop at the point of our Salvation!

1 John 1: 9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

When God forgives our sins at the beginning of our conversion, He does not simply wipe sins away. He also invites us into communion with Him, gives us His Spirit to enable obedience, promises to provide all our needs, and adds everlasting life on top of all this! In other words, God sets the example of going above and beyond what is merely required of Him.


For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.

Luke 6: 34 – 38
And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ lend to ‘sinners,’ expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful. “Do not judge and you will not be judged? Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

Even as God lives by grace, we too are to learn to implement it into our lives. It would be outrageous to approach God and call upon his Grace and not extend that which we want to others just as God will if we ask for it. Gods Love is underserved and the fruit of the spirit it Love (Gods type of Love, in the Greek “agape“)

After God redeems us from sin and extends to us His Spirit and grace — His free, unmerited election, He expects us to follow His instructions. So we can not use Grace as a pretext to continue in Sin, that would be utter foolishness, and we would be only fooling our selves if we believed God will not interrupt that pattern of behaviour.

God loves us and pays off our debt for sin; he saves us, so that is His Grace being expressed towards us.

In that receiving of His Grace comes the being a follower of Jesus and that will be evidenced by our following his instructions on life and Godliness which are clearly out lined within the Word of God along with any specific instructions God may communicate by His Spirit to us as individual believers.

Grace clearly shows God did not merely pity us from a distance, nor did He allow His compassion for us to remain as an unresolved, inactive feeling.

Hebrews 2: 14 – 18
Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil– and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

Galatians 1: 4
Who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father

The God the Creator came from His high and pure abode as glorious God, and put aside His divinity for body of flesh. He assumed our nature, was tempted in all things like us, took our sicknesses, and bore our infirmities for the express purpose of being a merciful and faithful and providing us access into the throne of Heaven at anytime.


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Gary Green

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