What Good is Grace?

Grace
GRACE, n. [L. gratia, which is formed on the Celtic; Eng. agree, congruous, and ready. The primary sense of gratus, is free, ready, quick, willing, prompt, from advancing.]
1. Favor; good will; kindness; disposition to oblige another; as a grant made as an act of grace.
Or each, or all, may win a lady’s grace.
2. Appropriately, the free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from him.
And if by grace,then it is no more of works. Rom 11.
3. Favorable influence of God; divine influence or the influence of the spirit, in renewing the heart and restraining from sin.
My grace is sufficient for thee. 2 Cor 12.
4. The application of Christ’s righteousness to the sinner.
Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Rom 5.
5. A state of reconciliation to God. Rom 5:2.
6. Virtuous or religious affection or disposition, as a liberal disposition, faith, meekness, humility, patience, &c. proceeding from divine influence.
7. Spiritual instruction, improvement and edification. Eph 4:29.
8. Apostleship, or the qualifications of an apostle. Eph 3:8.
9. Eternal life; final salvation. 1 Pet 1:13.
10. Favor; mercy; pardon.

While at a soccer game, my wife was having a conversation with one of the other moms about her son who had gotten himself in trouble for being disrespectable to her. She was somewhat perplexed because she wanted to discipline him by preventing him from going to a certain event with his father, which they had been planning for some time. This mom, ultimately relenting and letting her son go with his father, felt as though she had become inconsistent with discipline, which is what the young man deserved. My wife suggested that she take the opportunity to teach her son about grace. To this, the mother replied, “What’s that?” My wife (I’m so proud of her!) begins explaining “that grace is getting what you don’t deserve, particularly when you deserve the opposite….like what God does with us.” At which the mom asked, “Why is that good?” ………

The conversation was a seed plant and hopefully will get watered and grow as more opportunities present themselves. It struck me that not only did the mom not realize the need for grace, but also did not know what it even meant. This is a prime example of where we are in our culture.

Without grace we are hopeless. Without grace we cannot see the love God has bestowed upon us, in fact it is the very outworking of His love. Without showing grace to others we are ignoring an aspect of the character of God; who He is. Praise God for His grace!

So I started looking through my systematic theology books to find a clear definition of grace from a Christ-centered perspective and how it fits into the whole schema. Well, grace was always alluded to as to tell me that if I was reading those books, I must already know what that meant. So I went to Websters…….1828 edition that is! Webster pulled from the only true authority (the Bible) when he would take to define words. This is a great reference book. Webster used scripture proofs in his dictionary to prove what words meant, not try to re-interpret the Bible based on what he wanted the words to mean.

Here is the first part of the definition of grace as defined by Noah Webster:

Grace

GRACE, n. [L. gratia, which is formed on the Celtic; Eng. agree, congruous, and ready. The primary sense of gratus, is free, ready, quick, willing, prompt, from advancing.]

1. Favor; good will; kindness; disposition to oblige another; as a grant made as an act of grace.

Or each, or all, may win a lady’s grace.

2. Appropriately, the free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from him.

And if by grace,then it is no more of works. Rom 11.

3. Favorable influence of God; divine influence or the influence of the spirit, in renewing the heart and restraining from sin.

My grace is sufficient for thee. 2 Cor 12.

4. The application of Christ’s righteousness to the sinner.

Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound. Rom 5.

5. A state of reconciliation to God. Rom 5:2.

6. Virtuous or religious affection or disposition, as a liberal disposition, faith, meekness, humility, patience, &c. proceeding from divine influence.

7. Spiritual instruction, improvement and edification. Eph 4:29.

8. Apostleship, or the qualifications of an apostle. Eph 3:8.

9. Eternal life; final salvation. 1 Pet 1:13.

10. Favor; mercy; pardon.

To get a copy: Webster’s 1828 Dictionary

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