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Redeemed by Grace
Sep 20th 2010, 01:40 PM
Not sure a poll would do this topic justice, but I think we have so many thoughts as to what is the Grace of God...

So to see what the mass thinks God's grace is, here's the discussion point.

What is God's Grace?

-SEEKING-
Sep 20th 2010, 02:09 PM
Great question. I'd say it's the physical manifestation of His love shown to us. The greatest example being Jesus dying for us.

notuptome
Sep 20th 2010, 04:44 PM
Classic definition is unmerited favor.

Gods riches at Christs expense.

The substitutionary death of Christ for mankind. Vicarious atonement. The only hope of mankind to escape the certain wrath of God revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who hold the truth in unrighteousness. Rom 1:18

For the cause of Christ
Roger

RabbiKnife
Sep 20th 2010, 04:45 PM
Grace is God choosing to be the initiator, for no reason other than it pleased Him to do so, in restoration of a sinful man.

Jemand
Sep 20th 2010, 05:46 PM
The grace of God is the dynamic action of God by and through which He saves us from sin and its consequences through faith, and empowers us to serve Him. This action is wholly voluntary and without any obligation on the part of God, and is freely given to us through the faith that He makes it possible for us to have. An integral part of that faith is our volitional obedience to Christ as we yield to the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives.

Redeemed by Grace
Sep 20th 2010, 07:48 PM
The grace of God is the dynamic action of God by and through which He saves us from sin and its consequences through faith, and empowers us to serve Him.

Neat!



This action is wholly voluntary and without any obligation on the part of God,

Can you explain this a bit more? Not sure I am following


and is freely given to us through the faith that He makes it possible for us to have. An integral part of that faith is our volitional obedience to Christ as we yield to the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives.

So are you saying God's grace is given to us through faith? Does that mean that Faith is also given, or is faith the receptor of God's grace to us? I just want to clarify and understand your point better. Thanks.

Sirus
Sep 20th 2010, 11:33 PM
I've never heard it better, shorter, or sweeter than Websters

"unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification"

Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Tit 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Tit 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

RogerW
Sep 21st 2010, 12:12 AM
I've never heard it better, shorter, or sweeter than Websters

"unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification"

Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
Tit 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Tit 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Tit 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Run for the hills Sirus...we are somewhat in agreement again!

I would define God's grace like so many others "unmerited or underserved favor", but I would also add it is so much more. For as Sirus has somewhat said grace is Divine influence upon our spiritually dead hearts, that convinces us of the truthfulness of the gospel (creates faith in us). This Divine influence comes by the hearing of the Word applied through the Spirit, and it is unto "all men" without distinction, but not to "all men" without exception. This Divine influence upon our hearts, that brings faith is not something God gives only in regeneration, but is also something necessary for our sanctification.

Sirus
Sep 21st 2010, 01:06 AM
Running.....
Yea, you know that 'spiritually dead' and 'regeneration for salvation' stuff is not what I meant, but to not derail the thread.....somewhat is right. We at least agree it is more than unmerited favor :)

Jemand
Sep 21st 2010, 05:12 PM
Originally Posted by Jemand
The grace of God is the dynamic action of God by and through which He saves us from sin and its consequences through faith, and empowers us to serve Him.



Neat!

Originally Posted by Jemand
This action is wholly voluntary and without any obligation on the part of God,



Can you explain this a bit more? Not sure I am following

Originally Posted by Jemand
and is freely given to us through the faith that He makes it possible for us to have. An integral part of that faith is our volitional obedience to Christ as we yield to the power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives.



So are you saying God's grace is given to us through faith? Does that mean that Faith is also given, or is faith the receptor of God's grace to us? I just want to clarify and understand your point better. Thanks.

God freely gives His grace to whom He wills when He wills to give it independently of merit on the part of man, and it is received by man through faith, that faith being made possible by God through the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

kay-gee
Sep 21st 2010, 05:48 PM
Grace is God choosing to be the initiator, for no reason other than it pleased Him to do so, in restoration of a sinful man.

Agree!

all the best...

Lily
Sep 22nd 2010, 04:02 AM
I feel like we need to be very careful here. We often try to apply our own dogma's to scripture where we shouldn't, and then we totally miss what it really means.

If we look at every instance of where and how the word "grace" is used in scriptures it always means one of two things and it's important to understand both because they are different:


1.) Favor - goodwill or kind regard (Often "deservedly." Does that mean that I think I, or anyone, deserves God's love or forgiveness? No! But, we need to take an honest approach to scripture, and be sure not to read into it what isn't there. I've only given a few examples, but if you look at each one, more often than not, when the word "grace" is used as "favor", it was after, or when, somebody had earned it, or done something good that they requested favor and received it)

Examples:

Gen 6: 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

Gen 39:4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.

Gen 50 : 4 And when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, If now I have found grace in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying,

1 Sam 27:5 And David said unto Achish, If I have now found grace in thine eyes, let them give me a place in some town in the country, that I may dwell there: for why should thy servant dwell in the royal city with thee?

Ezra 9:8 And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.


2. ) Goodness - moral excellency, virtue, or excellency of quality

Examples:

Prov 4:9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

Jn 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Acts 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Rom 5:15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

Eph 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;


In a few rare instances, it is difficult to determine which meaning to apply. Probably because the goodwill of God is borne out of His Goodness. It can be hard to distinguish the two. :)

Redeemed by Grace
Sep 22nd 2010, 10:43 PM
Thanks Lily for your thoughts in reply.

Jemand
Sep 24th 2010, 05:44 PM
I feel like we need to be very careful here. We often try to apply our own dogma's to scripture where we shouldn't, and then we totally miss what it really means.

If we look at every instance of where and how the word "grace" is used in scriptures it always means one of two things and it's important to understand both because they are different:


1.) Favor - goodwill or kind regard (Often "deservedly." Does that mean that I think I, or anyone, deserves God's love or forgiveness? No! But, we need to take an honest approach to scripture, and be sure not to read into it what isn't there. I've only given a few examples, but if you look at each one, more often than not, when the word "grace" is used as "favor", it was after, or when, somebody had earned it, or done something good that they requested favor and received it)

Examples:

Gen 6: 8 But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD.

Gen 39:4 And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.

Gen 50 : 4 And when the days of his mourning were past, Joseph spake unto the house of Pharaoh, saying, If now I have found grace in your eyes, speak, I pray you, in the ears of Pharaoh, saying,

1 Sam 27:5 And David said unto Achish, If I have now found grace in thine eyes, let them give me a place in some town in the country, that I may dwell there: for why should thy servant dwell in the royal city with thee?

Ezra 9:8 And now for a little space grace hath been shewed from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in his holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes, and give us a little reviving in our bondage.


2. ) Goodness - moral excellency, virtue, or excellency of quality

Examples:

Prov 4:9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

Jn 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Acts 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the LORD Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Rom 5:15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.

Eph 3:8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;


In a few rare instances, it is difficult to determine which meaning to apply. Probably because the goodwill of God is borne out of His Goodness. It can be hard to distinguish the two. :)


The beginning point in understanding grace as a religious or theological term is to recognize that the word “grace” is never used in the Old Testament as a religious or theological term. It most often simply means “favor,” “approval.” This is also true of English translations of the Qumran writings and the rabbinic writings. In the Septuagint translation of the Old Testament, the word χαρις is most often a translation of the Hebrew word חן, which also simply means “favor,” “approval.” In the New Testament, the word grace is a translation of the word χαρις. In some places, χαρις has the same meanings as it does in Classical Greek and the Septuagint, that is, “favor,” “approval” or, much less often, “gracefulness,” “attractiveness.” In a few places, it has the same meanings as it does in Classical Greek and the Apocrypha but not in the Septuagint, that is, “a kindly feeling, such as gratefulness or thankfulness, because of a benefit received.” In some other places, it has the same meanings as it does in Classical Greek and the Apocrypha but not often in the Septuagint, that is, “benefit, “bounty,” or “gracious gift.”

When the word χαρις is translated as “grace” in the New Testament and is used as a religious or theological term, it never means goodness, moral excellence, virtue, or excellence of quality; it always refers to the dynamic action of God by and through which He saves us from sin and its consequences through faith, and empowers us to serve Him. God’s goodness and moral excellence may be a motive in His bestowing His grace upon us, but God’s goodness and moral excellence, in and of themselves, do not have the power to save us from sin and its consequences through faith, and they cannot empower us to serve Him. Luke’s use of the word in Acts 4:33, 6:8, 11:23, 14:3 and 15:11 demonstrates very clearly the dynamic aspect of God’s grace,

4:33. And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all.

6:8. And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.

11:23. Then when he arrived and witnessed the grace of God, he rejoiced and began to encourage them all with resolute heart to remain true to the Lord;

14:3. Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands.

15:11. “But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.”

Paul’s use of the word in Romans 3:24, 5:15-17 and Ephesians 2:8-9 also demonstrates very clearly the dynamic aspect of God’s grace,

Rom. 3:24. being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus;

Rom. 5:15. But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many.
16. The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification.
17. For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

Eph. 2:8. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
9. not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

The use of the word χαρις as a religious or theological term has not been found in any literature predating the New Testament. In the New Testament, the word χαρις as a religious or theological term is frequently used by the Apostle Paul and is central to his soteriology and ecclesiology where he uses it for the dynamic action of God by and through which He saves us from sin and its consequences through faith, and empowers us to serve Him in the Church. The word χαρις as a religious or theological term is also frequently used by Luke in Acts and perhaps in his gospel ,

Luke 2:40. The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

Indeed, the use of the word χαρις (charis) in a dynamic sense in many passages in the New Testament is responsible for our English words “charism” (plural, “charismata”), “charisma,” and “charismatic.”

(All quotations from Scripture are from the NASB, 1995)

Lily
Sep 25th 2010, 04:06 AM
Thank you Jemand for the thoughtful reply. I get the impression that you want to understand grace as much as I would like to. I hope, as we explore God's word, and live life according to His leading, that we'll come to understand better and better the dynamics of grace and His love.

This is going to be a long post, but I hope you'll hear me out.

Above and beyond anything else I believe that we HAVE to take an honest and unbiased approach to scripture. If we had never looked at things from other possible points of view, there would be no Christians. We would all still be gentiles or Jews, believing what our parents and teachers before us have taught. It’s no different today. But for some reason we still often like to believe something we're taught and accept it as truth.

As a matter of fact I had never questioned the idea of grace as “unmerited favor” until the night I posted in reply to this thread. And, in fact, I have described it before in the same way many other posters in this thread have. And if you could have seen my post before I edited it, I had indeed described grace as unmerited favor and listed several old testament passages to demonstrate it. It wasn’t until after I posted my reply and began reading ALL of the scriptures with the word grace in them that I realized, much to my suprise, that often the person requesting and receiving grace had in fact “earned” it. But, I had also described it as “goodness – moral excellence.” Because that’s what my understanding of it is in most New Testament references. I know that it’s quite different from how a vast number of Christians understand it, but I’m not the only one who sees it differently.

I still feel that it’s unmerited favor and it is that, too! But we’re totally missing another very important doctrine when we insist that’s what it always or only means. I LOVE the song Amazing Grace. Am I grateful for what God has done for a horrible wretch like me? Extremely!!! I could never, EVER do enough for God to make up for all of my sins and for all that He’s done for me, just even in this life, let alone the fact that I’ll get to spend eternity in His love. And that’s why we need grace, because we can’t make it up to Him! But not ONLY because we can’t, but more precisely because Jesus is the ONLY one who can! He is the only one who is morally perfect. Remember that doctrine? Do we get so caught up in the idea of unmerited favor that we forget that it’s perfect, sinless, spotless Jesus’ blood that purifies us, and cleanses us? That we take on that “charis” (charisma), a gift that enables us to become more and more Christ-like, more morally pure? You listed several verses that demonstrate exactly that.

Consider this definition of grace from Strong’s Concordance… "The divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life." Who’s reflection? Christ’s morally excellent reflection, right?

In fact please read the following from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_grace (my emphasis on the last paragraph.)...

--------------------
Divine grace is a theological term which is present in many and varied spiritual traditions. It is God's gift of salvation granted to sinners for their salvation. However, there are significant differences between the way people of different traditions use the word.

Within Christianity, there are differing conceptions of grace. In particular, Catholics and Protestants use the word in substantially different ways. It has been termed "the watershed that divides Catholicism from Protestantism, Calvinism from Arminianism, modern liberalism from conservatism".[1] Catholic doctrine teaches God uses the sacraments to facilitate the reception of His grace.[citation needed] Protestants generally do not hold that view.[citation needed]

Romans 5:1-2 (King James Version) "1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand..." Galatians 5:4 (King James Version) "4Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."

Grace in this context is something that is God-given, made possible only by Jesus Christ and none other.

The view that Christians have on grace is that it is undeserved mercy that God gave to us by sending his son to die on a cross to give us a way to be with him for the balance of eternity.

However, the Greek word used in the Bible is Charis pronounced khar'-ece, in which Strong's concordance gives this interesting definition, "The divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life."[2] The Greek word charis is related to two other Greek/English words, which are charisma (a special spiritual endowment or influence) and character (an engraving, stamp or mark indicating the genuineness of something)[3] Therefore, grace is given by God in reference to developing characteristics in harmony with God's character. This implies that grace is given to those who develop such God like characteristics. An alternative perspective is that grace is given to enable such character changes to be realised.
--------------------

Now reread the New Testament scriptures, where ever the word grace is used, and replace it with this understanding and see if it doesn’t make sense. You said, “it always refers to the dynamic action of God by and through which He saves us from sin and its consequences through faith, and empowers us to serve Him.”

I totally agree with that. I think "the dynamic action of God" is Him providing us with His only begotten son, perfect and pure, to atone for our sins and which empowers and changes us.

Please don’t think that I don’t also understand it as unmerited favor. It is certainly that, too. None of us is worthy! But reading it only as “unmerited favor” completely alters the meaning, or at the very least, leaves out another very important meaning. And for what purpose?

:hug:

Lily
Sep 25th 2010, 05:09 AM
In fact, the more I think about this, and in relation to the Old Testament references to grace that seem to be earned, I'm inclined to say that grace isn't unmerited favor at all, it's favor that Jesus earned for us. Let's take the focus of grace off of ourselves and put it sqaurely back on Jesus where it belongs. :pp

Redeemed by Grace
Sep 25th 2010, 01:00 PM
Thank you Jemand for the thoughtful reply. I get the impression that you want to understand grace as much as I would like to. I hope, as we explore God's word, and live life according to His leading, that we'll come to understand better and better the dynamics of grace and His love.

This is going to be a long post, but I hope you'll hear me out.

Above and beyond anything else I believe that we HAVE to take an honest and unbiased approach to scripture. If we had never looked at things from other possible points of view, there would be no Christians. We would all still be gentiles or Jews, believing what our parents and teachers before us have taught. It’s no different today. But for some reason we still often like to believe something we're taught and accept it as truth.

As a matter of fact I had never questioned the idea of grace as “unmerited favor” until the night I posted in reply to this thread. And, in fact, I have described it before in the same way many other posters in this thread have. And if you could have seen my post before I edited it, I had indeed described grace as unmerited favor and listed several old testament passages to demonstrate it. It wasn’t until after I posted my reply and began reading ALL of the scriptures with the word grace in them that I realized, much to my suprise, that often the person requesting and receiving grace had in fact “earned” it. But, I had also described it as “goodness – moral excellence.” Because that’s what my understanding of it is in most New Testament references. I know that it’s quite different from how a vast number of Christians understand it, but I’m not the only one who sees it differently.

I still feel that it’s unmerited favor and it is that, too! But we’re totally missing another very important doctrine when we insist that’s what it always or only means. I LOVE the song Amazing Grace. Am I grateful for what God has done for a horrible wretch like me? Extremely!!! I could never, EVER do enough for God to make up for all of my sins and for all that He’s done for me, just even in this life, let alone the fact that I’ll get to spend eternity in His love. And that’s why we need grace, because we can’t make it up to Him! But not ONLY because we can’t, but more precisely because Jesus is the ONLY one who can! He is the only one who is morally perfect. Remember that doctrine? Do we get so caught up in the idea of unmerited favor that we forget that it’s perfect, sinless, spotless Jesus’ blood that purifies us, and cleanses us? That we take on that “charis” (charisma), a gift that enables us to become more and more Christ-like, more morally pure? You listed several verses that demonstrate exactly that.

Consider this definition of grace from Strong’s Concordance… "The divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life." Who’s reflection? Christ’s morally excellent reflection, right?

In fact please read the following from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_grace (my emphasis on the last paragraph.)...

--------------------
Divine grace is a theological term which is present in many and varied spiritual traditions. It is God's gift of salvation granted to sinners for their salvation. However, there are significant differences between the way people of different traditions use the word.

Within Christianity, there are differing conceptions of grace. In particular, Catholics and Protestants use the word in substantially different ways. It has been termed "the watershed that divides Catholicism from Protestantism, Calvinism from Arminianism, modern liberalism from conservatism".[1] Catholic doctrine teaches God uses the sacraments to facilitate the reception of His grace.[citation needed] Protestants generally do not hold that view.[citation needed]

Romans 5:1-2 (King James Version) "1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand..." Galatians 5:4 (King James Version) "4Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."

Grace in this context is something that is God-given, made possible only by Jesus Christ and none other.

The view that Christians have on grace is that it is undeserved mercy that God gave to us by sending his son to die on a cross to give us a way to be with him for the balance of eternity.

However, the Greek word used in the Bible is Charis pronounced khar'-ece, in which Strong's concordance gives this interesting definition, "The divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life."[2] The Greek word charis is related to two other Greek/English words, which are charisma (a special spiritual endowment or influence) and character (an engraving, stamp or mark indicating the genuineness of something)[3] Therefore, grace is given by God in reference to developing characteristics in harmony with God's character. This implies that grace is given to those who develop such God like characteristics. An alternative perspective is that grace is given to enable such character changes to be realised.
--------------------

Now reread the New Testament scriptures, where ever the word grace is used, and replace it with this understanding and see if it doesn’t make sense. You said, “it always refers to the dynamic action of God by and through which He saves us from sin and its consequences through faith, and empowers us to serve Him.”

I totally agree with that. I think "the dynamic action of God" is Him providing us with His only begotten son, perfect and pure, to atone for our sins and which empowers and changes us.

Please don’t think that I don’t also understand it as unmerited favor. It is certainly that, too. None of us is worthy! But reading it only as “unmerited favor” completely alters the meaning, or at the very least, leaves out another very important meaning. And for what purpose?

:hug:

Hi Lily,

In my view, your post and your heart in wanting to know all about God - and your searching the word to understand God's grace, seeing something deeper in the process, sharing His blessings in what you are discovering - is what this board should be all about.


God is so big. I mean really BIG, and so many times we all, myself included, think we know who He is, but in reality, we only are scratching the surface. But His word is faithful,

Proverbs 8:17 "I love those who love me;
And those who diligently seek me will find me.

So thank you for being a breathe of clean air to me, for no agendas to position, no attitude of wrong or right, but pureness in wanting to know our Lord more through the study of the word.

You've been such a blessing to me - more than you will ever know. Thank you.

Praise God for the great things he has done!

RbG

MoreMercy
Sep 25th 2010, 01:48 PM
My definition of His grace is at the bottom of my post, but I am hoping you will read my little letter first please ?

I have noticed that some of my brothers and sisters in Christ only recognize or react to experiences of His grace and mercy from the perspective of after we pursue or believe in Him.
I happen to know that indeed we do receive more of His mercy or more of His grace after we pursue or believe in Him, but I also by His grace too recognize that we all even before pursuing or believing in Him we also then are/were living in and receiving that same grace or mercy, and if we don't recognize that we were indeed receiving that same mercy or grace then before we came to Him, then we will miss recognizing a huge portion and a huge aspect of His mercies or graces.
Which will partially blind us even after we have already come to Him, blinding us to what His grace is in full, its whole/full definition, how deep and how wide and how free and how good and merciful it is.
If we dont recognize or if we ignore certain aspects of Him, then we cant/wont fully grow into those aspect of Him.
I hope those extra thoughts of mine on His grace will bless all of us, not just my brothers and sisters in Christ but all of us....



My definition of His grace: His grace to me basically means more-mercy, undeserved mercy, un-obligated mercy from Him.
(note) not: mercy alone, but: more-mercy, not: adequate-mercy, not: sufficient-mercy
But unreserved-overflowing-mercy.
Thats is what He has allowed me to observed of Him of what His grace is. :pp
Basically to me His grace is concentrated mercy ! + 300% more ! and for free ! to make those lost sheep jealous and make them come n get some more from Him !
Ring that bell of mercy brothers and sisters ! and see who comes want'n some !

Feed and share with all of His sheep.
Sorry for all of my babbling above, I just woke up a few months ago !



Shalom-Peace, Father bless

Jemand
Sep 25th 2010, 06:31 PM
Thank you Jemand for the thoughtful reply. I get the impression that you want to understand grace as much as I would like to. I hope, as we explore God's word, and live life according to His leading, that we'll come to understand better and better the dynamics of grace and His love.

This is going to be a long post, but I hope you'll hear me out.

Above and beyond anything else I believe that we HAVE to take an honest and unbiased approach to scripture. If we had never looked at things from other possible points of view, there would be no Christians. We would all still be gentiles or Jews, believing what our parents and teachers before us have taught. It’s no different today. But for some reason we still often like to believe something we're taught and accept it as truth.

As a matter of fact I had never questioned the idea of grace as “unmerited favor” until the night I posted in reply to this thread. And, in fact, I have described it before in the same way many other posters in this thread have. And if you could have seen my post before I edited it, I had indeed described grace as unmerited favor and listed several old testament passages to demonstrate it. It wasn’t until after I posted my reply and began reading ALL of the scriptures with the word grace in them that I realized, much to my suprise, that often the person requesting and receiving grace had in fact “earned” it. But, I had also described it as “goodness – moral excellence.” Because that’s what my understanding of it is in most New Testament references. I know that it’s quite different from how a vast number of Christians understand it, but I’m not the only one who sees it differently.

I still feel that it’s unmerited favor and it is that, too! But we’re totally missing another very important doctrine when we insist that’s what it always or only means. I LOVE the song Amazing Grace. Am I grateful for what God has done for a horrible wretch like me? Extremely!!! I could never, EVER do enough for God to make up for all of my sins and for all that He’s done for me, just even in this life, let alone the fact that I’ll get to spend eternity in His love. And that’s why we need grace, because we can’t make it up to Him! But not ONLY because we can’t, but more precisely because Jesus is the ONLY one who can! He is the only one who is morally perfect. Remember that doctrine? Do we get so caught up in the idea of unmerited favor that we forget that it’s perfect, sinless, spotless Jesus’ blood that purifies us, and cleanses us? That we take on that “charis” (charisma), a gift that enables us to become more and more Christ-like, more morally pure? You listed several verses that demonstrate exactly that.

Consider this definition of grace from Strong’s Concordance… "The divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life." Who’s reflection? Christ’s morally excellent reflection, right?

In fact please read the following from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_grace (my emphasis on the last paragraph.)...

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Divine grace is a theological term which is present in many and varied spiritual traditions. It is God's gift of salvation granted to sinners for their salvation. However, there are significant differences between the way people of different traditions use the word.

Within Christianity, there are differing conceptions of grace. In particular, Catholics and Protestants use the word in substantially different ways. It has been termed "the watershed that divides Catholicism from Protestantism, Calvinism from Arminianism, modern liberalism from conservatism".[1] Catholic doctrine teaches God uses the sacraments to facilitate the reception of His grace.[citation needed] Protestants generally do not hold that view.[citation needed]

Romans 5:1-2 (King James Version) "1Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: 2By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand..." Galatians 5:4 (King James Version) "4Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace."

Grace in this context is something that is God-given, made possible only by Jesus Christ and none other.

The view that Christians have on grace is that it is undeserved mercy that God gave to us by sending his son to die on a cross to give us a way to be with him for the balance of eternity.

However, the Greek word used in the Bible is Charis pronounced khar'-ece, in which Strong's concordance gives this interesting definition, "The divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life."[2] The Greek word charis is related to two other Greek/English words, which are charisma (a special spiritual endowment or influence) and character (an engraving, stamp or mark indicating the genuineness of something)[3] Therefore, grace is given by God in reference to developing characteristics in harmony with God's character. This implies that grace is given to those who develop such God like characteristics. An alternative perspective is that grace is given to enable such character changes to be realised.
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Now reread the New Testament scriptures, where ever the word grace is used, and replace it with this understanding and see if it doesn’t make sense. You said, “it always refers to the dynamic action of God by and through which He saves us from sin and its consequences through faith, and empowers us to serve Him.”

I totally agree with that. I think "the dynamic action of God" is Him providing us with His only begotten son, perfect and pure, to atone for our sins and which empowers and changes us.

Please don’t think that I don’t also understand it as unmerited favor. It is certainly that, too. None of us is worthy! But reading it only as “unmerited favor” completely alters the meaning, or at the very least, leaves out another very important meaning. And for what purpose?

:hug:

Lily,

A good understanding of God’s grace does not come a quick use of Strong’s concordance; a good understanding of God’s grace comes from many years of reading and meditating upon the Scriptures in their original languages complimented by many years of reading and meditating upon the writings of the Ante-Nicene Church Fathers, the very finest pre-reformation Roman Catholic scholars, and the very finest Roman Catholic and Protestant scholars of the last 450 years.

Ernest DeWitt Burton, the late head of the Department of New Testament Literature and Interpretation in the University of Chicago (a university known around the world for its academic excellence in the study of languages and the Greek New Testament), invested twenty-five years of his life studying Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians and the literature pertinent to it in the writing his commentary on the Greek text that epistle. Prior to beginning those twenty-five years of research, he had spent many years studying and teaching the grammar and vocabulary of ancient Greek.

Ernst Käsemann invested fifty years of his life studying Paul’s Epistle to the Romans and the literature pertinent to it to before writing his commentary on that epistle. He had received his Ph.D. from the University of Marburg having written his doctoral dissertation on Pauline Ecclesiology under the supervision of Rudolph Bultmann and had served as a professor of New Testament in the University of Mainz (1946-1951), the University of Göttingen, one of the very top universities in Germany, (1951-1959), and the University of Tübingen, one on Germany’s oldest and finest universities, 1959-1971).

The study of both of these epistles is critical to a good understanding of God’s grace as taught in the New Testament, and the fruits of the labor of Ernest DeWitt Burton, Ernst Käsemann, and hundreds of other scholars representing a very wide spectrum of theological thought, are here for us to partake of, learn from, and grow by.

A note on the very brief “Greek Dictionary of the New Testament” found in the back of Strong’s concordance:

This very brief lexicon was written at a time when Greek lexicography was still in its infancy when it was still believed that the New Testament was written in ‘Holy Ghost Greek’ rather than Koine Greek, and when there had not yet been discovered any other literature in Koine Greek. The author, James Strong, did not have access to the research of Burton, Käsemann, or the many hundreds of other Biblical scholars who have contributed to our knowledge and understanding of the meaning of the Hebrew and Greek words translated as “grace.’ Strong’s definition of χαρις provided in the lexicon is based upon his understanding of the New Testament from his Wesleyan Methodist perspective.


May God bless you in your studies as you widen your horizons and dig deeper and deeper into the Bible and the tremendous wealth of literature pertaining to it.

Jemand

Lily
Sep 26th 2010, 10:29 PM
You've been such a blessing to me - more than you will ever know. Thank you.

Thanks, RbG. If so, I'm only returning the favor, as you have blessed me with your posts on many occasions in the past. Whether always in agreement or not, God's grace (as I understand it) has always been evident in your posts. And, to be sure, it's the witness of Christ-like people that influence our understanding of God as much as His word does sometimes.


My definition of His grace: His grace to me basically means more-mercy, undeserved mercy, un-obligated mercy from Him.
(note) not: mercy alone, but: more-mercy, not: adequate-mercy, not: sufficient-mercy
But unreserved-overflowing-mercy.
Thats is what He has allowed me to observed of Him of what His grace is.
Basically to me His grace is concentrated mercy ! + 300% more ! and for free ! to make those lost sheep jealous and make them come n get some more from Him !


More mercy. I like that definition. I think you should make it your user name! :lol:

Seiously, though, I do like it. Especially the "not: adequate-mercy, not: sufficient-mercy But unreserved-overflowing-mercy."

I agree. God is merciful beyond our comprehension. He demonstrates it throughout our life and we have done nothing to deserve it, but rather the opposite. I would also say, though, that grace comes with a price. A price that we couldn't pay. And, so it is a gift of God. One that Jesus, God's only begotten Son paid for, for us, with his life out of perfect obedience to the Father. That is unreserved-overflowing-mercy, yes?




May God bless you in your studies as you widen your horizons and dig deeper and deeper into the Bible and the tremendous wealth of literature pertaining to it.

Jemand



Amen and thank you.

Though I have read a lot of the others you've mentioned, I haven't read anything by Burton or Kasemann. I'll try to track down some of their work. But, honestly, the Bible is big enough and complete enough that if something isn't immediately evident, there is enough context and other clear scripture that even us little people should be able to figure it out.

That said, I have shelves of literature and the entire web at my fingertips for research and study, and I use it. I have four Bibles and use several concordances, none of which are Strong's. I was actually doing a quick refresher reading of St. Thomas Aquinas' understanding of grace when I happened across that link that I posted in my reply, which gave that definition from Strong's. It expressed what I was already understanding about grace, and so I offered it.

But, we have to be careful when applying extra-Biblical literature to our understanding of God's word. It's not perfect. Fenris, our token Jewish guy, would tell us that we should look to the teachings of the ancient rabbi's for a better understanding of God's word. Sure they didn't have the New Testament for referance, and Jews don't think they need it, now (and they don't, they just need the right understanding of the Old Testament), because they're sure the wise, scholarly teachers of old had it right (Sorry to use you as an example Fenris! :hug:)

Grace is not just a pronouncement of God saying, "You don't deserve it, but because I love you, I have forgiven you." It's so much more than that. It has substance that is supposed to be evident in the life of the believer.

Yesterday was my only grandson's first Birthday. We appropriated gifts and gave them to him. He received actual gifts. We didn't just tell him "Happy Birthday, we love you and we have many gifts for you, and all you have to do is believe they exist." We gave him gifts of substance, gifts that he could touch and play with. One such gift was a New Orleans Saints sweatshirt that, once he put on, became evidence of our love to him and anyone who saw him. But the gift had to be appropriated first before it could even be given and become evident to him and on him.

Grace is much like that. Romans 5:1-2 tells us that grace is "peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ...wherein we stand and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." He further explains through many words and letters that it is us being justified to life by the righteousness of Christ, and his death and resurrection, and whereby the Holy Spirit works in us and seals the deal. It's the gift of God which we receive by faith. It has substance which we can examine and stand in and put on, and which makes it evident, not only to ourselves but to those around us.

We learned the same thing Romans 5: 1-2 teaches us from John 3:16 as six year olds... For God so loved the world that he gave us (grace.) It's not just a gift we didn't deserve. And it's not just forgiveness and mercy, it's how that forgiveness and mercy is accomplished, and it's love and it's life and life more abundantly!

Grace is Jesus, the perfect goodness of God expressed and which affects the believer. It's given to us out of love and we receive it by faith. I could read and reread other literature until I'm blind (and I'm getting there), but nothing will ever demonstrate it more clearly than the complete picture of it that Jesus gives us.

:hug:



Sorry about the length of the response, I've actually edited quite a lot out of it for the sake of brevity.

MoreMercy
Sep 28th 2010, 01:11 AM
More mercy. I like that definition. I think you should make it your user name! :lol:

Seiously, though, I do like it. Especially the "not: adequate-mercy, not: sufficient-mercy But unreserved-overflowing-mercy."

I agree. God is merciful beyond our comprehension. He demonstrates it throughout our life and we have done nothing to deserve it, but rather the opposite. I would also say, though, that grace comes with a price. A price that we couldn't pay. And, so it is a gift of God. One that Jesus, God's only begotten Son paid for, for us, with his life out of perfect obedience to the Father. That is unreserved-overflowing-mercy, yes?
Yes, indeed.
Thank God that His Son purchased what we now receive (unreserved-overflowing-mercy) and thank Him that we do not have to pay for that mercy now or in our past or in our future and wont have to pay for it unless we follow another father, if we follow another father then the bill will arrive to our account on that great DAY.

Father blesses.