As you may have noticed, this blog is titled Grace Fed Runner, so I thought it was fitting to write about grace and why it's so incredible. When I think about God's grace, I think about how I've been saved by it and changed by it. Grace is powerful, grace is pure, grace is love. And understanding grace is important to the Christian woman's (and man's) walk, which is to be powered and motivated by love and grace.
Ephesians 2:8 NIV
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God.
As my understanding and appreciation of God's grace has developed, I have learned to love my God, Christ, myself, and others with a deeper love that is pure, free and unconditional. I don't always walk perfectly because I'm human, but when I remember the grace and love God has shown me in my darkest moments it's easy to get back on track.
What is grace?
In short, grace is good-will, loving-kindness and favor. In the New Testament, grace is transliterated from Greek word "charis" (Strong's Concordance G5485). In the New Testament according to Thayer's Greek Lexicon, grace is most often used regarding God's grace, which is "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."
Another definition for grace from E.W. Bullinger's Critical Greek Lexicon and Concordance is "a kind of affection, pleasing nature and inclining disposition, either in person or thing." Objectively, Bullinger states that grace "denotes personal gracefulness, a pleasing work, beauty of speech," and subjectively it is "an inclining towards, courteous or gracious disposition, friendly willingness."
According to Bullinger, grace requires kindness and favor from the giver and thankfulness from the receiver. Regarding God's grace specifically, Bullinger states that grace is "God's grace and favor manifested towards mankind or any individual, which, as a free act is no more hindered by sin that it is conditional upon works. It is the grace of God, because it denotes the relation assumed and maintained by God towards sinful man. It is joined with Christ, because it is manifested in and through him."
The bottom line? God's grace is His favor manifested towards mankind and is not conditional upon or hindered by our sin because it is freely given to us (which means we can't earn it through works). Also, if you've been saved and changed by God's grace, you have the ability to show grace - good-will, loving-kindness and favor - to others.
Why does grace matter?
Understanding grace is a big deal because grace matters. Here are a few reasons why:
- As Christians, we were saved and made alive through grace. Without God's grace - His unmerited favor - we couldn't call ourselves His kids and experience the fullness of life that God promises throughout His Word. Without God's grace, we wouldn't have the hope of Christ's return. We didn't and can't do anything to earn God's grace because it was freely given out of love - our only job is to receive and accept it.
Ephesians 2:4-9 NIV
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.
- It is through grace that we can stand as righteous in God's presence. The word justified in the below verses is transliterated as the Greek word dikaioō, which means to be declared as righteous (usage 3 in Thayer's), and to be righteous is to have the ability to stand before God without any consciousness of sin, guilt or shortcoming. Because of grace, we don't have to carry around the weight of our sins and shortcomings - how freeing is that?!
Romans 5:1,2 AMP
Therefore, since we have been justified [that is, acquitted of sin, declared blameless before God] by faith, [let us grasp the fact that] we have peace with God [and the joy of reconciliation with Him] through our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed). Through Him we also have access by faith into this [remarkable state of] grace in which we [firmly and safely and securely] stand. Let us rejoice in our [a]hope and the confident assurance of [experiencing and enjoying] the glory of [our great] God [the manifestation of His excellence and power].
- Through grace, we find sufficiency and strength. I love knowing that in my weakness (and trust me, there are many), that God's grace is sufficient for me and gives me strength.
2 Corinthians 12:9 AMP
but He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you [My lovingkindness and My mercy are more than enough—always available—regardless of the situation]; for [My] power is being perfected [and is completed and shows itself most effectively] in [your] weakness.” Therefore, I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ [may completely enfold me and] may dwell in me.
- Our service and love to each other is available through grace. Grace enables us to serve and give to others out of a heart of love.
1 Peter 4:8-10
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.
- Grace dictates how we should communicate with others. When we communicate with grace, we will be able to deliver answers full of wisdom and love.
Colossians 4:6 NIV + Thayer's Greek Lexicon and Concordance
Let your conversation [speech] be always full of grace [sweetness, charm, loveliness], seasoned with salt [full of wisdom and grace and hence pleasant and wholesome], so that you may know how to answer everyone.
- As Christians, our life's mission is fueled by grace. We have been saved and changed by grace, and we have the privilege and responsibility to share our testimonies with others.
Acts 20:24 NIV
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
Acts 13:43 NIV + Thayer's Greek Lexicon and Concordance
...who talked with them and urged them to continue [persevere the blessing for which one keeps himself fit] in the grace of God.
Grace matters, and the above examples do not represent the full power of grace living and operating in our hearts and minds. Have you been saved and changed by grace? If so, share your story in the comments below!
She has fire in her soul and grace in her heart. - Anonymous