The word “grace” in the New Testament comes from the Greek word “charis” from which we get our word “charity.” Vines defines it this way:
On the part of the bestower, the friendly disposition from which the kindly act proceeds, graciousness, loving-kindness, goodwill generally, especially with reference to the Divine favor or “grace.” In this respect, there is stress on its freeness and universality, its spontaneous character, as in the case of God’s redemptive mercy, and the pleasure or joy He designs for the recipient; thus it is set in contrast with debt, with works, and with law.
I would say it simply: Grace is the divine favor of God, given freely out of His pleasure, to bring delight and joy to those who receive it.
Grace is a common theme in the Paul’s letter to the Ephesians. Here are just three things I see about grace.
Grace is freely bestowed on the believer, in Christ.
Ephesians 1:6 – To the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.
Freely bestowed. Given without reservation or limit, with no hesitation. God cannot bless sin, thus outside of Christ we cannot receive the grace of God, but in Him, God is able to freely pour out His favor. It is as though He is blessing His own Son, because we are hidden in Him. Literally, this phrase “freely bestowed” means “made us acceptable.” It is the same word found in Luke 1:28, where the angel refers to Mary as “highly favored” of God. Every believer who has received the grace of God in the forgiveness of his sin, is said to be accepted and highly favored of God!
Grace is lavished on the believer, in Christ.
Ephesians 1:7-8 – In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us.
Ephesians 2:7 – So that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
Lavished is a very descriptive word. The KJV says it this way: Wherein He hath abounded toward us. The word (perisseuō) means to be in excess, to have enough and to spare, abundance, to overflow. In other words, God’s grace is enough to forgive all our sins, and still have more to spare! We can never do anything that exceeds the supply of God’s grace!
This idea of the lavish grace of God is echoed in Ephesians 2:7, where Paul tells us that God raised us from spiritual death to spiritual life us to that He could show the surpassing riches of His grace, offered to us in Christ. Surpassing literally means “to throw over or beyond,” or “to throw beyond the usual mark.” Picture God’s grace as a covering, a rich and luxurious tapestry of beauty, that He has made to cover our life of sinful mess. He doesn’t give us just enough to reach to the edge. We don’t stand in His grace pulling it from one side to wrap ourselves and cover our mistakes, only to expose another weakness on the other side, like a blanket that is too short for the bed. No…God’s grace is lavish and surpassing. It extends far past our sin and our shame, falling around us in abundant folds and beautiful colors, with no shortage.
Grace is given to the believer, to be given away.
Ephesians 3:2 – If indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you.
Ephesians 3:7-8 – Of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ.
Ephesians 4:29 – Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
Paul speaks of God’s grace as a treasure, a responsibility to be managed. The gift of grace was not given to him for only his own advantage. Naturally, he benefited from the grace of God personally – his own salvation was secure. But he teaches us the grace of God is something to be shared. God had lavished His abundant grace and mercy on Paul – poured out divine favor, enough to cover his sin with ample to spare, and Paul was compelled to see that it overflowed into the lives of others.
Grace in the life of a believer multiplies and grows. The more we give grace, the more we share what God has done for us, the more abundantly God pours out His grace upon us.
1 Peter 4:10 – As each one has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Peter’s admonition takes us back to the picture of the lavish tapestry of God’s grace that is spread over our lives, as “manifold” means “of diverse and variegated colors.” Just like Joseph’s coat of many colors that was given to him by his father, to set him apart as a child of grace and favor, God wraps us in His grace. This beautiful gift of grace is to be shared through speaking the life-giving words of the gospel to others. Words that preach the unfathomable riches of Christ (Ephesians 3:8) and edifying, uplifting, and timely words that give grace to those who hear (Ephesians 4:29).
How has God’s grace affected your life? Have you received His gift of grace through salvation by faith in Christ? If you haven’t, today is the day.
Romans 10:9-10 – That if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
If you do know Christ, how are you sharing His grace? Who is it in your life that needs to be wrapped in the multi-colored garment of grace that God has given to you? What words of grace will you speak today?
Until next time,