Grace. This is the age of grace, and yet many believers fail to grasp it. The word grace in the New Testament comes from the Greek word, charis, and has several applications:
- Grace is revealed to us in God’s gift of salvation. This is best represented by the idea of God bestowing something upon someone though they did not deserve it. The key passage used to teach this principle is Ephesians 2:8, which states that we are saved by grace. In this passage, charis is usually described as unmerited favour.
- Grace is also God’s favour upon believers in circumstances. Acts 4:33 shows that grace was upon them during a trial and persecution.
A word that is commonly used in conjunction with grace is, mercy.
Mercy can be simply described as not getting what we deserve. In other words, God was merciful to you when He saved you as it means you will not receive His wrath. Grace is quite different in that because of grace we do get that which we do not deserve – salvation. In summary; because of God’s mercy a genuine believer is spared from wrath, while simultaeneously because of God’s grace the same believer is granted the provision of salvation.
In this age of easy-believism, it is common to hear things like “It’s just as well I am saved under grace”, thereby giving the sentiment that their sinful behaviour is not that bad under the New Covenant. Having easily been led “to Christ” by saying a “sinner’s prayer” Jesus has brought them into His new age of grace in which there is a very low requirement for holiness. But that is not a true understanding of Biblical grace. It is severely distorted, and the primary reason for this distortion is lack of the consideration of the grace and mercy of God. For the true believer, saved through faith in the completed work of Christ Jesus at Calvary, grace is not something that is considered cheap. The true believer knows he is totally undeserving of God’s grace, but because of God’s incredible love for humanity (mercy), it has been provided for him anyway. Also, the true believer has taken time to contemplate the incredible cost of mercy and grace. He sees a gnarly old cross and a completely ravaged man hanging upon it. He realises that it should have been him on that cross, but instead, God showed mercy to man by choosing to suffer in our place. The cross is a picture of the power of sin. The Lord of Life took our place to pay the price we never could; God in human form died on the cross for sinful man.
1Jn 2:2 MKJV And He is the propitiation concerning our sins, and not concerning ours only, but also concerning the sins of all the world.
May we never lose sight of the incredible cost that has made grace available to every one of us.