I can not believe that we have spent the last eleven days, tracing the cord of God’s wonderful grace throughout the entire Old Testament! What a journey it has been so far and we have not even gotten to His greatest grace gift!
Let’s begin our time in the New Testament first by exploring the word used for grace. Primarily, our New Testament has been translated from Greek. Charis is the word from which grace is translated into English. Charis, according to www. biblestudytools.com is defined in Strong’s #5485, as (get ready, it’s long):
grace; that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech; good will, loving-kindness, favor; of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting His holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues; what is due to grace the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace; the token or proof of grace, benefit; a gift of grace; benefit, bounty; thanks, (for benefits, services, favors), recompense, reward
Wow, that is a wealth of meaning! For a definition of our English word grace, try: http://mobile.webstersdictionary1828.com
It is very thorough as well. Just reading the definitions has my mind popping. Songs come flooding into my mind like rapids rush in a river. Songs like: Amazing Grace-the Hymn; Amazing Grace-My Chains are Gone; Your Grace is Enough; This is Amazing Grace; Scandal of Grace; Grace like Rain; Rhythms of Grace; Your Grace Still Amazes Me; Love is War.
These are just a few of the more recent ones, there are scores of songs and hymns that tell of God’s great and marvelous grace.
If you will humor me, I will share my personal definition of grace. Grace- the Son of God giving up His place in the heavenlies, leaving the side of His Father, coming to earth in the form of a baby conceived of a virgin girl by means of the Holy Spirit of God. Fully God and fully human, something that is impossible to fully comprehend, He grew up. He faced every possible trial and problem that we would ever face and walked through it without sin. He was hated, despised, misunderstood, mocked, falsely accused, betrayed by family and friends alike. Yet, in the middle of this He served people: the sick, blind and lame were healed; captives were set free; there was healing for the broken hearted; freedom for those imprisoned; the mourners were comforted and their joy restored. He brought God’s favor to those who had been separated from God by sin since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden. Jesus brought beauty for ashes and reconciliation of man to God all through His life, death, burial and resurrection on the third day. Jesus Christ is the definition of grace and the more that we learn to walk as He walked the more the whole world will benefit, grace will thrive and more and more people will come to know His love, grace and mercy in their lives.
Many have said down through history, Jesus I respect. Many times where it breaks down is in His followers. We can become so caught up in the should’s and shouldn’t’s; the can and can’s; the rights and wrongs; getting rid of the spec’s in other’s rather than the planks in our lives that we forget to love and serve, show mercy and compassion. As we start looking at the New Testament we will see Jesus. We will see great love, great mercy and great compassion. We will see an innocent man on the way to Jerusalem to be mocked, falsely accused, beaten almost beyond recognition and killed knowing before He ever entered the city that this would happen. The One who carried this heavy burden, knowing one friend would betray Him and others would turn their back on Him still took the time as He approached the city to heal two blind men and to teach His followers. Grace is this man Jesus, knowing the brutality of what He was fixing to face in order to restore right relationship between fallen man and God, being human and asking that He be spared, yet loving and compassionate enough to put any fear, pain and suffering aside and say to His Father, “not my will but Yours” and then follow the necessary path to accomplish God’s eternal plan. That is true grace!