Grace is Not What You Think

Posted: October 31, 2013 in Uncategorized

I have been challenged recently with something that I have long held to be true about grace.  I have always been taught that grace was the unmerited favor of God.  Most Bible dictionaries would also agree that grace is unmerited favor.  My seminary professors, pastors, teachers and most everybody that has ever talked about grace have all said that grace is the unmerited favor of God.  But is it? Is “unmerited favor” an accurate description of the 131 times grace is mentioned in the New Testament? Could it be that grace is something else?  Are you curious yet?

The word “grace” is mentioned only 39 times in the entire Old Testament and it does actually mean “favor.”  However, the New Testament use of the word takes on an entirely new meaning.  Out of the 131 times that grace is mentioned in the New Testament, 99 of them are attributed to the Apostle Paul. Grace radically altered the way the Apostle Paul approached life.  Paul is even often referred to as the Apostle of Grace. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:10, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all, yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” God’s grace empowered Paul to fully do God’s will. Wow!

Could it be that if we studied closely the writings of Paul that maybe we would find a different perspective on grace?  Could it be that we would find that the long lasting view of grace being the unmerited favor of God is not what the New Testament teaches?  Still not convinced…here are a few questions we will discuss over the next few weeks of blogs as we dive into Paul’s concept of grace.  1) Why does God give grace only to the humble? 2) Why does Paul tell us in Ephesians that grace is given by God in measures? 3) Why does the Bible say you can fall from grace?  4) Why does the Bible say that the grace of God was upon Jesus?   I pray these questions will challenge you as they did me.  So let’s take a look at grace through the eyes of Paul and find out just what grace really is…


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