The Grace of God

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Many church people talk about the grace of God and even sing songs about it. They know that it came through Jesus Christ (John 1:14, 17), but few can explain what it is! Is it the freedom to do as we wish?

When Paul wrote the words "For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace" (Romans 6:14) he used the Greek word charis (Strong's Concordance #G5485). God saves us by this charis. Since this is the mode of a Christian's salvation, it is of paramount importance. Since it is so critical, Satan is trying his best to confuse and hide its true meaning!

The scriptures say Jesus grew in charis (Luke 2:52), which is translated as "favor" in the King James Bible. Many marginal notes show "grace" as the alternate translation. If charis is unmerited pardon, as some have believed, how could Jesus, who never sinned, grow in unmerited pardon? The translation here of "favor" is obviously the correct one. It is easy to understand that he grew in favor with his Father and man. In Luke 4:22 the people were amazed at the gracious (favorable to men) words which proceeded out of his mouth. Here the Greek word for gracious is charis.

In Acts 2:46 - 47 we find the disciples "having charis with all the people." In Acts 7:10 we find it given to Joseph in the sight of Pharaoh. The KJV has translated charis as "favor" here, as opposed to grace, as in other places (Acts 25:3, Luke 1:30, Acts 7:46). It is not clear why some do not like this definition. It does imply that it does not matter what you do once you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior. However, many believers know that it does matter what Christians do! We are told we must keep the commandments (Acts 5:32).

Why do we receive it?

Man receives favor for two different reasons. First, Jesus died for us while we were yet sinners (Romans 5:8). Most all of Christendom would agree that this is the grace of God in action (see John 3:16). The clearing of the death penalty over us is the first part of the salvation process. A Christian is justified (past sins paid for) by Christ's death. Christians can do nothing about their sins except accept this sacrifice. The question is why man receives this awesome favor in the first place.

Our heavenly Father did not favor with salvation the angels who sinned nor is he offering them the ability to become sons (Hebrews 1:5, 2:6 - 10). God favored man because we are in his image. Awesome is the favor we have received. The offspring of any being looks like the father in kind (Acts 17:26, 28 - 29, 1John 3:1). Those who do not believe that man is in image of his Creator cannot even understand why we receive charis to justification.

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The other reason we receive favor is that it solves the grace versus works argument. How does one grow in favor with any boss? He keeps his directives or commands! Once we have believed in Jesus' sacrifice to pay for our sins (breaking the law), repented (keeping the commandments), and are baptized, we receive the Holy Spirit. We are now the children of the Eternal by the indwelling of his spirit. We have His seed in us (see 1John 3:1 - 2, 9). Now we have grown in favor in His eyes!

True Christians who have the Spirit within them are lead to keep the commandments in their spirit and intent (1Peter 1:22). As we learn to better keep the commands, we can receive more of His precious spirit (Ephesians 5:18). Notice Stephen was FULL of the Holy Spirit near the end of his life (Acts 7:55, 60). We grow in favor with God by maturing in the keeping of the commandments!

Not under Law, but Favor

The devil, who deceives the whole world, does not want us to understand this very important issue (Job 1:6, 1Corinthians 14:33, 1Thessalonians 2:18)! Therefore, he has changed the modern word "grace" to be "it is too wonderful to be understood." He would have us believe that all that is needed for salvation is our Father's favor without any obedience to him (e.g. the commandments).

Christians are not perfect. They may make a mistake and sin! Under the law each sin required an animal's death in sacrifice (Numbers 15:27 - 28, Leviticus 4:13, 20, 22, 26 - 27, 31, 35, Leviticus 19:22). Under favor, the repentance of sin is required (Hebrews 10:10 - 11, 21; 1John 2:1 - 4). It means constant washing by the water of the Word.

True Christians are under the great favor or grace of God and are to be perfect. He watches over us as any good father watches over his children and favors them (1Peter 3:12, 5:10 - 12; Matthew 5:48; 1John 3:10). He even favors them with chastening when needed (Hebrews 12:6, Revelation 3:19). Let us therefore keep his commandments and stay in his favor.

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