There is so much hype and confusion today concerning the topic of God's 'grace.' Some teach that it is unmerited pardon, some that it is forgiveness and some teach that it is mercy. Others teach that grace is some God given talent, gift or skill set. Still others teach that grace is superatural abilities or Jesus Himself. To many, grace is simply a short prayer to bless a meal. And a few believe and teach that the topic of God's grace encompasses all other biblical topics. Lately it seems that the term "grace" is being used to religiously refer to everything but the kitchen sink. And that doesn't bother me personally, but I believe that it will eventually cause considerable confusion to many.
But, "Grace," generally speaking, simply means "favor." But there are many sub-categories of grace or favor. The favor or grace of God is one of these sub-categories which is limited to members of the God family. And another biblical sub-category of this favor or grace is the "grace clause" which Jesus brought with Him from Heaven to legally append to all of our violated, broken and breached contractual relationships with God and others. Jesus appended these grace clauses so that upon our repentance, He could exercise that clause to allow us to re-enter into those previously breached contractual relationships, as if, they had never been breached, reversing our bad reputations and benefitting all parties involved.(Ephesians 2:8) says, For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
You were "SAVED" through your faith in that grace clause, back into that previously breached relationship, through no effort of your own other than your repentance over breaching the relationship, benefiting both you and God. You are reconciled to God, and God adopts a new child into His family.
One of the ways grace is being used is in grace versus the law teachings, with the description of the law ranging from the ten commandments to every word preceding Matthew 1:1 and just about everything in-between. One popular teaching is that grace is the opposite or reciprocal of the law.
Contrary to recent popular opinion, grace is not the opposite of the law. The opposite of the law is lasciviousness or lawlessness, which is not want we want. However, the entire biblical admonition concerning law vs. grace is this: When under the inditement of the law, ALWAYS seek favor over any type of legal justification.
If you sin or breach against God, demonstrate the desire to change or to make the breach good, (repent), ask for God's forgiveness and mercy, readily accept the favor that comes from you being His child, and don't try to justify your actions or behavior legally or otherwise.
The same goes if you sin or breach against another person. Demonstrate your desire to make things right, ask for the person's forgiveness and mercy, seek and readily accept any favor that is offered over legal wrangling to justify what you did.
Voluntary commitment to the New Covenant law of Love and subsequently good faith encompasses or includes voluntary commitment to the "ten commandments" codified by Moses.
One is only "under the law" if one is under inditement for the violation or infraction of a law. If your record has been remitted or wiped clean, then until you violate another law, you are no longer under the law.
Now when it comes to grace or favor, you either have it, or you do not - regardless as to wheather you are currently under inditement or not. In the case of God's grace, you are either His child or you are not. If you are His child then you have special favor in His eyes.
The key here seems to be that if you know what grace really is, then you will be less likely to confuse grace with what it is not.
Paul wrote about grace in Romans 6:14. This is the King James translation, which is essentially 1500 AD English. When Paul wrote these words, he did not use the 1500 AD word "grace", but rather the Greek word "charis". We are saved by this charis. But what is it?
Everybody TALKS about "grace", they sing songs about "amazing grace", they know grace and truth came through Jesus Christ, but few can definitively explain what it is! Religious wars have been fought over "grace versus works" when neither side really understood what grace really even was. So what is this grace?
I was taking a walk one day, minding my own business, looking at the sky and trees and not even praying, when God spoke to me in an agitated voice. "Tim, people make my Word too complicated!" I thought to myself, "Oh boy, what have I done this time?" and asked, "What, what?" He said, "Take 'grace' for example. There are Bible schools and seminaries that have multiple semester courses on GRACE! When my 'grace' is nothing more nor less than - the favor that comes from being a child of God."
He continued, "Do you see those two children on the swings in the park?" "Assume that those two are your children." "Now, of ALL the children in the park, which ones have favor in YOUR eyes?" "Which ones will YOU be willing to take responsibility for, to feed, clothe, shelter, care and provide for until they are old enough to go off on their own?" I answered, "the ones that belong to me!" He said, "Exactly!"
"And another thing," He said, "Continually reminding my children that my favor is not merited or deserved is - just as rude as the other children continually reminding your children that they were adopted!" "You (Christians) are ALL adopted - except for Jesus! Jesus chose you and I adopted you! But being adopted in no way means second class! You ALL start out with equal favor in My eyes!" Then there was silence and I got home as soon as I could to write it all down and studied it all out. Father God is unhappy that the religious have so complicated His simple Word.
From then until today whenever I hear or read the word "grace" in relation to God, I automatically translate it to "the favor that comes from being a child of God." From God's perspective, grace is not "unmerited pardon," for that is actually the definition of "mercy," which is only part of that favor. Throughout the King James version of the Bible, "charis" is or should be translated as "favor." But if you were adopted by Father God, then you have that special favor that comes from being His child. You have the same favor with Father God - that Jesus has.
Rom 1:5 (TGV) Through Him we received both the favor that comes from being a child of God (grace) and from Him we received the urgent task of passing the offer on to others who then receive it by entering into and committing to good faith contracts in the name of Jesus.
Rom 5:2 (TGV) To whom (Jesus) we have access by good faith contracts/promises/agreements made available by the favor that comes from being a child of God (grace) in which we stand, and rejoice in exuberant expectation with God.
It is that "grace", that favor that comes from being a child of God that makes those thousands of contracts, agreements, promises and offers available to you. If you are a born-again believer who has received Jesus as your King, then you have the favor that comes from being a child of God. TGM