The working definition is 'unmerited favor' but it really doesn't do the real meaning justice. Grace breaks the will with a love that while we were yet sinners Christ died for our sins.
Grace not only saves us but sanctifies us, apart from Christ we can do nothing and to make myself clear, your merit counts for nothing. If one were to ask the Apostle Paul how it is that he worked so hard and suffered so much and bringing so many the Gospel, he would, and did, tell us that it is by grace.
But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. (I Cor. 15:10)A good working definition for grace is 'unmerited favor', Paul worked in the ministry field by grace alone and he is crystal clear on this point. The merits of Christian ministry are Christ's alone we can add nothing. James in speaking to believers who were obviously showing favoritism was simply telling them that this is not how saving faith works. He was outraged that a wealthy Christian could teach a poor Christian as inferior when they themselves apart from Christ are poor, pitiful, blind and naked.
When announcing the death of Martin Luther King Robert Kennedy quoted this:
“In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.” AeschylusPerhaps because of the solemness of the occasion or possibly the crushing weight of grace in my life these words best describe grace as I have come to know it. I must forgive, even as I am forgiven. It is then in my despair, against my will, comes the awful grace of God. Or perhaps it was here:
In the final hours of darkness, in the garden there he prayed.(Terry Talbot, I am He)
Father take this cup from me, is there any other way.
As his prayer turned into pleading, his sweat turned into blood,
Father prepare me now, your will not mine be done.
Then the thousand came to take the one, and there he stood betrayed.
By the kiss that found forever, the lamb who would be slain.
They said which one is Jesus and he spoke these simple words,
And the thousand fell before the answer that changed the world,
I am he he said
In the final hours of darkness in the gardens of my search,
tempatations grown around me like thorns around the word.
I saw my sin before me and I felt my heart turn numb.
When I cried Lord, where is my strength, came the answer that changed my life.
I am He he said.
Grace and peace,