Grace has so many different meanings in the twenty first century. From a Biblical perspective, grace is demonstrated by a Holy God showing mercy on an undeserving sinner. This grace which God demonstrates can be easily corrupted. Let’s examine some examples of grace demonstrated in Scripture.
A) The multiplication of grace and peace
God’s grace causes peace and not turmoil and division. Peter paints a picture that reflects the beauty of grace.
1 PETER 1:2
2 according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in the sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood: May grace and peace be multiplied to you.
Peter writes to the Christians who were scattered throughout the Roman province of Asia Minor. He writes to those who had been sanctified by the Holy Spirit and who were living in obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, that they may experience God-given grace and peace in abundance. This is one of the many blessings of the New Covenant.
B) Grace explained by a Puritan – Thomas Watson
“The word ‘grace’ has various acceptable uses in Scripture: grace can represent God’s favor.
8 But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.
Here we see a compassionate God able to help Noah in a time of need. Grace may also be viewed as a metaphor. This is evident in the beauty of creation. James reminds us of this
JAMES 1:11 (KJV)
11 For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth
C) Our early Church Fathers’ view on grace:
Augustine and Theophilact observed the following: “Grace is the infusion of a new and holy principle into the heart whereby it is changed from what it was and is made after God’s own heart. Grace does not make a civil change only, but a sacred one; its biases the soul heavenward, and stamps upon the image and superscription of God” (Thomas Watson, p77).
D) The means of Grace
Herman Bavinck (2011) reminds us that all salvation and blessedness comes to fallen people via God’s gracious character. Objectively, that grace with all its benefits appeared in Christ, who acquired and distributed them in the way of covenant. The “fellowship” of those who have received Christ with all His benefits is called “the church” or the Christian community. As God’s Christian community we should have His image within us. We are commanded to be Holy.
44 For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves with any swarming thing that crawls on the ground.
1 PETER 1:15-16
15 but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
Grace should never lead us to unholy practices.
In the New Dictionary of Christian Ethics, the following definition is given: “Grace unites forgiveness and moral absolutes”. The standards of morality and absolutes should never be ignored in our Christian community.
E) A matter of Grace
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was hanged by the Nazis in 1945, wrote in his book, The cost of Discipleship, that cheap grace is the deadly enemy of the church. He went on to say that we are fighting for costly grace. Grace that is cheap is a grace that doesn’t demand that we become like our Lord and Master Jesus Christ. Costly grace does not appeal to sin or to self. It compels man to submit to the yoke of Christ and follow Him; it is a grace which identifies with Jesus’ command: “My yoke is easy and my burden is light”.
Let us never forget that the most important means of grace is the Word of God.
May God’s grace and peace be multiplied in your life.