I felt the word God gave me to meditate on this year was grace. I was really having a hard time wrapping my mind around it. I have heard the GRACE acronym God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense, but that didn’t seem to cover it.
I went to Webster’s 1828 as I love to do. I found grace is a noun, something we can have and give. Webster’s definitions include: kindness; the free unmerited love and favor of God; Favorable influence of God; The application of Christ’s righteousness to the sinner. A state of reconciliation.
It is also a verb, something we do. Webster’s definition includes: To decorate; to embellish and dignify. To raise by act of favor; to honor. To supply with heavenly favor.
Honor, favor, dignify. I like the sound of that. Still something seemed to be missing.
I did a search of scriptures for grace. The first thing I noticed are all the different ways grace is used. This was helpful. One word used for many things.
The first place grace is used is:
But Noah found grace in the eyes of the LORD. Genesis 6:8 KJV
It says “found grace” this phrase is only used in the Old Testament. So grace is a thing, one can find it.
Next is “obtained grace”.
And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti. Esther 2:17 KJV
The phrase “find grace” is found once in the NT.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. Hebrews 4:16 KJV
There is a throne of grace. Grace is sought and found with both God and man. Grace is given, poured out, shown. See Ezra 9:8, Psalm 45:2
Reading the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) entry about grace shed more light on why grace is hard to get a hold on. The term is used in many ways including:
- giving favor and the gratefulness that arises from being favored
- grace is power, almost synonymous with Holy Spirit
- in the Greek culture grace was almost only used to mean unmerited favor
I think I am most intrigued by grace being power and synonymous with Holy Spirit.
Reading in The Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible I found that grace is made up of letters that mean life or continues and wall. So grace is a continuing wall. Neat! It was used for the wall surrounding the camp. “Within the walls is the family clan, a place of freedom, compassion and beauty.” What a beautiful picture of grace! And I have found a new book I love to read.
So what is grace anyway? My definition for now: “a place of freedom, compassion, and beauty surrounded by an unending protective wall.”
What have you learned about God’s grace?
How have you experienced God’s grace?