Grace: Kharece/Charis (gr): meaning merciful kindness by God, favor, exerting His Holy influence upon souls, turns us to Christ, keeps, strengthens, and increases us in Christian faith, knowledge, affection and loveliness, good will, loving kindness, benefit, gift of grace, thanks, rewards, graciousness of manner or act – abstract or concrete literal figurative or spiritual especially the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life including gratitude.
A popular definition of Grace that we hear so often ” free and unmerited favor of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessing. It is free undeserved gift of God through Jesus Christ……..
but that’s only the beginning…….
Grace is part of the new covenant between God and man. When the law was in effect, sin and death reigned, but now, through the redemption of blood in Christ Jesus, we are offered a new covenant under Grace. Grace is first received by faith in Christ Jesus when we believed. This grace justifies us, causes us to do good works, strengthens us, makes us an heir to God’s family and leads us into eternal life. God’s grace reigns over His people making us servants of God and no longer a servant to sin. The law was something man strived to do, but under grace, we are lead and directed into good works, obedience and eternal life. Grace is a driving force, it’s like a current of air, a pathway or a direction in which we go. Grace is walking in Step with the Holy Spirit of God. Grace leads us or creates a path on which we live a life pleasing to the Lord God.
After much study of the scripture on Grace, I’d like to give you two analogies on what Grace is like-
1- Grace is like a mighty current of air or pathway that causes you/ leads to go in the right direction. It is a gift from God through Jesus Christ that leads you to eternal life. The Holy Spirit is the driving powerful force causing you to move along this path that is a righteous path before Almighty God. We know that the Holy Spirit is referred to (at times) as a breath or wind, and here, I have found that grace is actually the current. A current is the movement along which the air (electricity, water or air) flows. It is a force or movement in which wind moves through the flow. Wind is moving air, it is doing the moving. A current with no wind doesn’t exist, and wind always flows along the current. Can we put these together as an analogy of Grace and the Holy Spirit? I think so. We are told that grace gives us the ability to do good works so grace is our driving force along the righteous path.
2- Grace is like tracks and pathway of a railroad. You see, you are the train off the track- then you accept the terms of the covenant by Faith in Christ Jesus and you are put on the tracks to newness of life. The tracks, or Grace, have a right path for you to go ahead in and helps you from falling off. The force and power of the train is the Holy Spirit always leading you in the right direction. However, you still have your own free will – to listen and obey the Spirit or go after your own lusts and desires. If you choose to go your own way and live a life contrary to the Spirit of God, you are OFF the tracks – you are no longer on the right path and are no longer under God’s grace. God will not be mocked. He is far from the wicked. (it’s in the bible)
God’s grace leads us into obedience and good works. We do fall, stumble and trip at times, even falling into temptation – but God’s grace is there to lift us up, strengthen us and establish us- knowing we did wrong, we repent, we turn and we get back on that track, always thanking God for His Grace. But if you choose to completely and intentionally leave the path destined by God for you and choose to live a wicked life, you have wandered far, far from God’s grace. If you are living a life of sexual sin, idolatry, covetousness, or the sins listed in the verses below, you are not under the grace of God. You may have received God’s grace when you believed, but you did not allow or follow the direction it was leading you. Instead, you choose your own way and turned from God’s grace. God hasn’t changed. He will not be mocked. People may make their excuses to sin, but come judgment day, there will be no excuses.
Accepting God’s grace is accepting His covenant, it’s like a marriage. You accept the terms – that Christ died for your sins and to follow His leading and His ways. If you think you can accept God’s grace and go your own way, you are not under God’s grace – no matter what any preacher tells you. The bible is specific in this, if you choose to live an unacceptable sinful and immoral lifestyle; you are not under the protection and guidance of God’s grace. It’s like a woman who accepts a wedding ring from her groom but turns to live an immoral lifestyle. Grace leads us to eternal life and makes us heirs of God’s family. If you choose to live an unrighteous lifestyle, you are no longer under God’s grace:
Let’s look at 1 Corinthians 6:9-20 No, you yourselves do wrong and cheat, and you do these things to your brethren! Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God. All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power. Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a harlot? Certainly not! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For “the two,” He says, “shall become one flesh.” But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body] and in your spirit, which are God’s. The verse above tells us specifically that the following people will not inherit (not be an heir or part of the royal family) the kingdom:
- Those who lie and cheat
- Those who do not live righteously
- Pornos- translated as Fornicators, a man who indulges in unlawful sexual intercourse, those who defile themselves with others, those who do not honor the marriage bed, male prostitutes (also see Eph 5:5, rev 21:8)
- Idolaters- those who worship others gods, any Christian who participates in the feasts of the heathens (g1496 greek), a covetous man, a worshipper of money (Rev 21:8)
- Moichos- translated as adulterers- adulterer, one who is faithless towards God, ungodly, friends with the World.
- Oute: translated as homosexual, a male who submits his body to unlawful lewdness, effeminate man, untypical feminine qualities of a man, improper relations between men and boys (g3120 greek)
- Arsenokoites translated as sodomites; one who lies with a male as a female, those who abuse themselves with mankind, those who defile themselves with mankind g733
- Kleptes – thieves , embezzlers, false teachers out for their own gain, those who break and steal
- Pleonektes – greedy, covetous, always wanting more, never content with what they have, want what others have – and idolater
- Loidoros – reviler – one who speaks with an abusive language with hate, insulting to others, one who hurts and destroys others with their speech
- Harpax – extortioner, robber , one who destroys, also used to describe wolves in sheeps clothing
- Akathartos – unclean person, lewdness, unclean in thought and life, demonic (Eph 5:5)
Do you really think you stay covered under God’s amazing grace when you reject His leading and His ways? The law was made for these people described above so that they would see their iniquity before God, repent, turn back to righteousness and find Mercy under almighty God. Grace doesn’t give us an open door to live against God’s rules, but Grace is another door that you are welcome into through Jesus Christ. Grace turns you back on the narrow road that you must continue walking on. God’s Grace is a gift, a beautiful ornament that makes you beautiful. This wonderful grace causes you to do good works.
Look at Ephesians 5 But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks. For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them
- Walk in love
- Be followers of God
- Becoming saints by staying away from fornication, uncleanness and covetousness
- Stop all foolish or filthy talk, vulgar joking, improper talk
- Not allow the wrong teachings and words of others to trip you with vain words and teachings that are empty and void of truth
What does inherit the kingdom mean? This means you are one of God’s children, an heir to the kingdom of the Lord God and His Son Jesus Christ. It gives you access to your true home, your Father’s house- the Kingdom of heaven. Dire warnings are given to us warning of the requirements of this Holy family. There is a lake of fire and brimstone for those who are not part of the God’s kingdom.
Who will end up in the Lake of fire and Brimstone? Revelation 21:8 and 22:15 give us clear understanding and warning about WHO WILL NOT inherit the kingdom “ But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.” :
- Deilos :The fearful: the timid, faithless , cowardly Christians under persecution, apostates, those who run from the gospel in fear of the world and man
- Apistos: unbelieving, do not trust in God or his word, Christians who reject true faith
- Bedelysso: abominable, stench, detest, to be despicable
- Phoneus: one who murders
- Pharmekeus: sorcerer, one who uses magical remedies, drugs, spell potions, poisoner, drugs that poison
- Pseudes – all those who lie, deceitful, false
- Sexually immoral
The first example of grace in the new testament is Luke 1:30
“Mary found favor (charis/grace) in God’s eye”
What did Mary do with this grace and favor from God? Did she use it as a ticket under His favor to have her own way?
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” This is the first example we are given of Grace and our actions and duty under God’s grace should be the same way Mary responded “I am the Lord’s servant”
Think about this: You can’t have grace without faith and grace leads you into good works. Grace leads you into obedience so God’s laws and the our requirement to be holy don’t disappear, but now you have a supernatural force that helps you and leads you into obedience. Do you see how all three tie together? We need faith, but faith alone doesn’t save us. Faith without works is dead. You may say, well I can have good works without faith”, but remember that you can do all your deeds and charity and good works, but if you don’t have love – you are just a noise maker. Even then, works don’t save you. So what in the world do we need to be saved?
I like the way Paul presented Salvation:
PAULS Steps of Salvation WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF ACTS:
1-BELIEVE IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST- FAITH
2-CONFESS YOUR SINS AND REPENT
3-TURN BACK TO GOD- He wants you to SEEK HIM
4-BE BAPTISED IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST-WASHING AWAY YOUR SINS
5-PROVE IT BY THE WAY YOU LIVE
6-GET RID OF ALL SIN AND WICKEDNESS
7-WATCH OUT FOR FALSE TEACHERS AND WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING
What pulls people away from God’s grace?
According to the parable of the Seeds in Mark 4 and Luke 8, new Believers and those who hear the word of God have 6 routes of destruction that turn them away from the Grace of God:
- Satan – he steals the word from their hearts so they no longer believe
- Temptation -Problems/trials/ tribulations :Allowing our Problems to pull us away
- Persecution for believing in God’s word
- Worries of this life
- Lure of wealth and riches
- Desires and pleasures
Is a Lukewarm christian under the grace of God? A Christian under the grace of God is promised life eternal and and heir to God’s family. A lukewarm Christian is spewed out of His mouth, so a lukewarm Christian is not under the Grace of God. Even if you have good works and call yourself a Christian, you haven’t yet decided whose side you are on – the World or God? HOWEVER! God calls that one to repent and come back, read Revelation 3 :
5 I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. 16 So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent.20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne
Stop Planning your excuses before God because YOU WILL HAVE NO EXCUSE
But God shows his anger from heaven against all sinful, wicked people who suppress the truth by their wickedness.[i] 19 They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. 20 For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.
21 Yes, they knew God, but they wouldn’t worship him as God or even give him thanks. And they began to think up foolish ideas of what God was like. As a result, their minds became dark and confused. 22 Claiming to be wise, they instead became utter fools. 23 And instead of worshiping the glorious, ever-living God, they worshiped idols made to look like mere people and birds and animals and reptiles.
24 So God abandoned them to do whatever shameful things their hearts desired. As a result, they did vile and degrading things with each other’s bodies. 25 They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator himself, who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen. 26 That is why God abandoned them to their shameful desires. Even the women turned against the natural way to have sex and instead indulged in sex with each other. 27 And the men, instead of having normal sexual relations with women, burned with lust for each other. Men did shameful things with other men, and as a result of this sin, they suffered within themselves the penalty they deserved.
28 Since they thought it foolish to acknowledge God, he abandoned them to their foolish thinking and let them do things that should never be done. 29 Their lives became full of every kind of wickedness, sin, greed, hate, envy, murder, quarreling, deception, malicious behavior, and gossip. 30 They are backstabbers, haters of God, insolent, proud, and boastful. They invent new ways of sinning, and they disobey their parents. 31 They refuse to understand, break their promises, are heartless, and have no mercy. 32 They know God’s justice requires that those who do these things deserve to die, yet they do them anyway. Worse yet, they encourage others to do them, too. Romans 1
More on Grace to come…………………………………………….