Q.

I have been meditating on the word grace.  I have heard it explained as undeserved kindness, or the power of God to do the will of God.  Could you explain grace, is gracious part of it?

Joyce

A.

Hello Joyce,

Great question! Both thoughts you mentioned are involved in grace. Twenty-two years ago the Spirit of God used the combination of an inductive study of Galatians and Ephesians as well as the two-volume biography of Hudson Taylor to open my eyes to the word “grace.” This launched me on a revival journey that continues to this day. A verse that has blessed my heart in this regard is James 4:6, “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.”

This verse, along with others, reveals the basic meaning of grace.

First, the nature of grace is a gift. Since God gives grace, then to the receiver, grace is a gift (James 4:6). It is not earned or purchased. To the recipient, grace is a gift in both salvation (Eph. 2:8-9) and sanctification and service (Eph. 3:6). This truth reveals why grace is often defined as “undeserved favor.”

Second, the giver of grace is God. Twice in James 4:6, it says God gives grace. Grace is not something man does; it is that which man receives. God is the giver of grace. This truth shows that grace is undeserved favor from God. But what is the favor?

Third, the essence of grace is supernatural enablement. God gives “more grace” or literally “mega grace.” Whatever God does is supernatural. For example, grace is described as “the effectual working [energy] of his [God’s] power” which enabled Paul for preaching (Eph. 3:6). The word grace describes God “energizing” both Peter and Paul for the ministries He gave to them (Gal. 2:8-9). The energy of God imparted to man—this is supernatural enablement!

Fourth, the agent of grace is the Spirit. He, as “the Spirit of grace” (Heb. 10:29), is the one who graces us—who enables us. Many of the Epistles begin as does Ephesians 1:2 saying, “Grace be to you…from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” It appears the Holy Spirit is not listed because He is implied in the word grace. He is the agent who imparts grace.

Finally, the purpose of grace is to do God’s will. For example, Paul was given grace that he “might preach… the unsearchable riches of Christ” (Eph. 3:7; 1 Cor. 15:10).

Combining the nuances of how grace is used, we learn that grace is the undeserved favor of the supernatural enablement through the Holy Spirit to do God’s will. Simply stated, grace is Spirit-enablement. This covers a lot of ground and multiple needs. Beyond that, when a child of God takes grace and extends grace to others, he may be described correctly as being “gracious” in the truest sense.

John