Grace is one of those biblical concepts which we often find we have a somewhat woolly understanding of. We have a feeling we know approximately what it means but please don't ask us to define it.
When I try to explain it to others I often introduce it this way:
- Justice is when God gives us what we deserve
- Mercy is when God doesn't give us what we deserve
- Grace is when God gives us what we don't deserve
In the verse above the Greek word behind "grace" is charis which means "gift". It is the same word used in 1 Corinthians when Paul talks about the gifts of the Holy Spirit - prophecy, speaking in tongues and so on.
So, grace is simply a gift. But in the New Testament it is often applied, as it is in the verse above, to a specific gift - the gift to us of salvation through the death of Jesus on the cross.
This is why some people use the phrase, God's Riches At Christ's Expense, to define "grace" and I intend to meditate on this and unpack it in the next few posts of Prayer College.
But, before we look further at "grace", you may have noticed the the English word "gift" also appears in the verse above. Here the underlying Greek word is doron which is an offering. Salvation is indeed a grace, a gift of God, but not everyone receives it. God offers it freely but we have to accept what He is offering to us.
Have you personally grasped the gift of salvation or have you left God holding it in His hands, offering it to you?