What is “Grace”

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Holman Bible Dictionary “So pervasive was Paul’s sense of grace that he refers to it at the beginning and end of every one of his letters. For him the Christian life is summed up in the grace of God. Salvation from beginning to the end is all of grace. There can be no mixture of grace and works, or else it would not be grace (Rom. 11:6-7). Grace is synonymous with the gospel of Christ and to depart from it is to turn to a false gospel (Gal. 1:6). It was the grace of God that planned salvation for sinners in eternity past before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4; 2 Tim. 1:9). It was grace that provided salvation in the historical death of Christ (Rom. 3:24). It is grace that enables one to appropriate salvation, for it calls one to salvation, reveals Christ, and even gives the faith which is the condition of salvation (Gal. 1:6,15; Eph. 2:8-9; Phil. 1:29). It is the grace of God that calls and equips one for service in the Christian life (Rom. 15:15-16; 1 Cor. 3:10). Very much like Luke in Acts, Paul speaks of the grace of God as a power, almost as a person. The grace of God was something that was with him, produced labor, humility, godliness, and sustained him in times of difficulty (1 Cor. 15:10; 2 Cor. 1:12; 12:7-10). Everything, therefore, from first to last is of grace. In the General Epistles and Revelation charis appears 24 times, most of these being found in Hebrews and 1 Peter. It has all the range of meanings found in Paul, the Gospels, and Acts. In Hebrews, grace is related to the atoning death of Christ (2:9). It is grace that allows us to come to God boldly for “help in time of need” (4:16). It is grace that strengthens the heart of the believer by which he is equipped with everything good to do the will of God (13:5). It is used in the secular sense of “thanksgiving” or “gratitude” in Heb. 12:28. In James, grace is used to refer to a power given to the humble to resist the devil and avoid spiritual adultery (4:6-7). In the Petrine letters grace has its source in God (1 Pet. 5:10) and has a manifold nature (1 Pet. 4:10). Peter equates grace with salvation and, like Paul, sees salvation as grace from first to last. It was prophesied by the prophets, accomplished by the sufferings of Christ, applied to people by a sovereign calling (1 Pet. 1:10-11; 5:10), and equips believers to serve (1 Pet. 4:10-11). All believers stand in a grace relationship with God, both men and women (1 Pet. 5:12; 3:7). The way to avoid being led astray by Satan into unfaithfulness is to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Pet. 3:18). Charis is absent in 1 and 2 John and is found only in the closing verses of Revelation. However, the NT very appropriately closes with a benediction of grace (Rev. 22:21).

See Justification; Love; Mercy. Jimmy A. Millikin”

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