As believers, we hear about grace all the time and most of us can probably give a basic definition of what grace is — especially saving grace. But how many of us have really given serious thought about what God’s grace actually means?
Since God is the author of grace, only he can fully understand it in its entirety. But through Scripture, we can grasp a basic understanding about the different aspects of grace.
Let’s begin by looking at the purpose of grace. After all, God doesn’t give or do things out of chaos, so grace must have a purpose.
Ephesians 2:1-10 is a great passage where we can apply the purpose of grace. Here, the apostle Paul tells us that grace is given to turn us towards God. Just like the Old Testament law was given to show us that we are a sinful people (Romans 7:7), in the same way, grace is given to show God’s abundant love, kindness, and forgiveness. And God gives his grace freely, expecting nothing in return. We cannot earn it, and we definitely do not deserve it.
That alone is amazing, but let’s go a bit further and take a look at a few of the different facets of grace.
First, there’s common grace. This is the kind of grace that God gives to all people such as sunshine, rain, food, government, law, general health, etc. God provides this kind of grace to all mankind. It began with creation (Genesis 1) and continues today. Listen to what Paul says in Colossians 1:16-17 — “Christ himself is the Creator who made everything in heaven and earth, the things we can see and the things we can’t; the spirit world with its kings and kingdoms, its rulers and authorities; all were made by Christ for his own use and glory. He was before all else began and it is his power that hold all things together” (TLB).
Second, there’s saving grace. This kind of grace helps unbelievers come to Christ where they’ll find salvation and share in God’s everlasting kingdom. All people who accept the free gift of salvation through Christ experience saving grace. Again, listen to what Paul says in Titus 2:11-13 — “For the free gift of eternal salvation is now being offered to everyone; and along with this gift comes the realization that God wants us to turn from godless living and simple pleasures and to live good, God-fearing lives day after day, looking forward to that wonderful time we’ve been expecting, when his glory shall be seen—the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” (TLB).
And finally, there’s enabling grace. This kind of grace enables believers to live lives that honor God after receiving salvation. Once again we turn to Paul in 2 Corinthians 9:8 — “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (NIV)
In summary, God’s grace is all around us. It’s through grace that God provides for and sustains all that he’s created. It’s through grace that God offers the free gift of salvation to anyone who wants it. And it’s through grace that God gives believers the power to live lives that bring honor and glory to his name.
The subject of grace is deeply intertwined with things like faith, love, forgiveness, justification, obedience, and submission. And while Scripture teaches a great deal about all of these, the purpose for this brief article regarding grace is only to give you something to think about as you go about your week. It is in no way a complete teaching on the subject of grace.
But for believers, we don’t have to look any further than Jesus Christ to find grace. God’s attributes of love, mercy, hope, justice, and grace are all found in our Messiah, our Lord, and our God. Jesus alone is the definition of true grace.
Donna Hughey is an award-winning Christian author and columnist. She lives in Crescent City.