This week at Positive Woman Connection Bible Study, we are talking about the power of forgiveness and the beauty of God’s grace. The apostle Paul calls us to live with grace that goes beyond our human inclinations – to show kindness to those who do not deserve it, even our enemies. But isn’t that just like God’s grace toward us?
Grace is a short word with a big meaning. Often we use the word to refer to gracious behavior or graceful dancing or even saying a meal time prayer, but grace represents the very reason for our joy as believers. In the Old Testament, we find the Hebrew word chen meaning kindness or favor. It was first used in Genesis (6:8), “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” In the book of Ruth, I especially love how we find the word chen used by Ruth as she speaks to Boaz (her kinsman redeemer), “Why have I found favor in your eyes that you should take notice of me, when I am a foreigner?” What a beautiful picture of God’s grace toward us. Why should we as sinners find favor in the eyes of an all-Holy God? One word: Grace.
In the New Testament the Greek word for grace is charis referring to God’s unmerited favor. There are many spiritual implications from this one mighty word and to truly grasp its full meaning is to embrace the essence of Christianity. Grace is not about us, it is about God. B. B. Warfield said, “Grace is free sovereign favor to the ill-deserving.” Free is a very important part of understanding God’s grace. Other religions are not based on grace, they are based on working to please and make amends with their god or gods. The Christian faith is different. It is not based on our merit, but on God’s goodness, love and kindness toward us.
Although grace is free, it is not cheap. We must never take the grace of God for granted, but rather live in thankful obedience as a result of understanding this amazing and unmerited favor God has bestowed on us. A. W. Tozer wrote: “Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines him to bestow benefits on the undeserving.” Perhaps you have seen the acronym for GRACE: God’s Riches at Christ’s Expense, which is a great reminder of the high cost of God’s grace. John McArthur took it further by saying, “Grace is not merely unmerited favor; it is favor bestowed on sinners who deserve wrath. Showing kindness to a stranger is ‘unmerited favor’; doing good to one’s enemies is more the spirit of grace.”
Romans 5:1-2,6-8 describes our reason to rejoice:
“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.…
…You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
For me personally, I find myself continually thankful and joyful because of this very passage describing God’s grace. Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see! Because of His grace I desire to walk in fellowship with Him. Because of His grace, I am compelled to show grace to the people around me. What about you? How does God’s grace affect your daily life?
This is an excerpt from my book Becoming a Woman of the Word