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God’s Use of the Word “Grace” is Not What You Think

The word “Grace” is used frequently in Christian sermons, books, podcasts, etc. However, many times this word is used in a way that God does not use it. Which means we are communicating something incorrect when we use the word “Grace” in a Christian context. The result of such incorrect usage of the word “Grace” in the church has resulted in a lot of “grace confusion”.

God is the creator and author of “Grace”. It is a Bible word. So, it is important that we pay close attention to how God uses this important word in The Bible. If we pay attention to how God uses this important word… not how we use it, or the world, or even how our pastor, we will learn much about the reality of God’s Grace. To understand how God uses the word “Grace” in the Bible, simply look up all the instances where that word appears in the Bible, particularly in the New Testament. This will do much to revolutionize your Christian life, as it has mine.

One of the most common incorrect ideas about God’s Grace is that it is somehow something we do, instead of what God alone does. Which is what the Bible teaches. Consider this:

  • The word “Grace” is mentioned 128 times in 122 verses in the New Testament (only 5 times in the Gospels and 97 times in Paul’s epistles!)
  • 126 times it is referenced as something GOD is, gives and does and NOT man. In fact in many cases God’s Grace is shown in stark contrast with what man does or should do!
  • Absolutely NOWHERE is God’s Grace portrayed as something we “show to others” (contrary to what is commonly taught in the church today).

In the face of the avalanche (98%) of verses that clearly speak of Grace as being something God is, gives and does, what are the two “exceptions” (if they really are exceptions)?

They are:

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.

Ephesians 4:29

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.

Colossians 4:6

Both of these verses speak of Grace in connection with what we say. It could easily be argued that what they are calling us to do is communicate or tell of God’s Grace. That our speech be of the sort that can direct people toward the Grace of God.

Therefore, ZERO verses in the New Testament speak of God’s Grace as something “we do” or “extend”. It is all about what God lovingly does on our behalf. It’s all about Him, not us! It is His action and intent that is His love extended, giving us what we don’t deserve, so that we can fully enjoy fellowship and a love relationship with God as our loving Father.

Additionally, you will notice that I capitalize the word “Grace”. This is not error. It is a deliberate effort to rightly identify this word with God Himself. John 1:17 declares,

For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

Notice that Grace came through Jesus Christ. Ultimately, God’s Grace is The Lord Jesus Christ Himself!

Finally, I often do not use the word “Grace” alone, rather I say “God’s Grace” or “the Grace of God”. This is done to clearly exalt God’s Grace above the fray of all the “grace confusion” in the church and to what it truly is: uniquely and only God’s, never mine.

Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash