Are there LEVELS of Grace?

Submit questions  -  New Articles
Are there different levels of God's grace? Does he distribute a different amount of his favor toward those who are Christians versus those who are non-believers? Even among those who are called and chosen, does he portion out MORE blessings to some and less to others?

In order to understand if the Bible teaches different levels of grace it is helpful to first define what it is. This English word is found 170 times in the King James Version Bible. The vast majority of the time its Old Testament occurrences are derived from the Hebrew khane (Strong's Concordance #H2580) which means favor or graciousness. In the KJV New Testament, it is derived all but once (James 1:11 being the exception) from the Greek charis (Strong's Concordance #G5485).

Grace is the disposition of undeserved generosity, kindness and favor that a giver has when giving a gift to another person (the receiver).  When the Apostle Paul discuss it is his letters, he describes it as part of God's character whereby he gives people mercy and makes Christians righteous (i.e., "justification") even though they do not deserve it based on any good works they did.

Paul wrote in Titus 2, verse 11 that "the grace of God, which brings salvation for all men, has appeared."  The Father loves all humanity, as this text shows, including all unfaithful and unrepentant sinners, but his favor is only effective in its results in those who believe.  Notice in this light the famous verse John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him (i.e., has faith in the sacrifice of His Son) should not perish but have eternal life."  Unbelievers do not benefit from God's grace until they believe and repent.  In this limited sense, they have zero favor from him. 

Favor toward believers

In one sense, all Christians have received a certain amount of the Eternal's favor since they needed him to possess the willingness to allow them to be saved despite all of their sins.  Consider what Paul says in Romans 5.

20. Moreover, the law entered (was revealed to Israel after Adam's sin), so that transgression might abound (since people knew the law more, so they were more responsible and thus guilty when disobeying it); but where sin abounded, the grace of God did superabound (Romans 5:20)

 

How does the number 25 represent double favor?
Timeline of Apostle Paul's Life
What is the unpardonable sin?
What does Proverbs say about being blessed?
Eric Snow
Email Evangelists

However, past the basic amount needed for salvation, does God give his kindness in varying amounts to those who are called and converted? The quick answer is "yes."  Notice in particular what is written in the book of 2Peter.

18. Rather, be growing in the grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2Peter 3:18)

Now, how can all (saved) Christians have the same level of favor, yet be implored by Peter to "grow" in it?  Peter obviously does not mean, as Paul warned against, that we sin so then we can receive more of it (Romans 6:1)!

Favor has another effect on Christians besides gaining the basic gift of salvation after having the faith to receive the benefits of Jesus' sacrifice.  Believers can and do have differing levels and kinds of spiritual gifts and powers because of His will towards us.  Paul was made an apostle by it (Ephesians 3:7-8). More generally, he later wrote that although there was one body (the church) and one Spirit, each person has received something different from the Eternal.

7. But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of the gift of Christ . . . 11. And He gave some as apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers (Ephesians 4:7, 11)

Losing it

Believers in the first century who attempt to be reconciled to God by becoming circumcised, and therefore had to keep the whole Old Testament law, are said to have FALLEN from His favor. Their loss would make them different from those who still had it.

3. Again, I am personally testifying to every man who is being circumcised that he is a debtor to do the whole law. 4. You who are attempting to be justified by works of law, you are being deprived of any spiritual effect from Christ. You have fallen from grace! (Galatians 5: 3- 4)

Different levels of grace exist since non-believers do not benefit from having any from God, but true believers do.  Even among those converted, varying amounts of it are bestowed in the form of the differing gifts of service he gives for the benefit of all.

Additional Study Materials
What is the forgotten gift of service?
What are the spiritual gifts given to believers?
What is the plan of salvation?
© The Bible Study Site