22 Oct Understanding Grace and Mercy in the Purposes of God
My love for God and His Word brought me to desire to know the meaning and applications of words like grace and mercy. Another word like that is peace. In the New Testament the words grace, mercy and peace come up regularly. The general definition of grace is the unmerited favour of God or God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. When I come across phrases like ‘be strong in the grace’, ‘grow up in grace’, and ‘grace abounding to us in all things’, and when Paul says that grace works mightily in him and he is what he is by the grace of God, I begin to get the feeling that we may need another dimension of understanding for the word called grace.
There is a grace teaching that implies that no matter what happens, God’s love is such that you do not need to feel bad about anything, you are inherently good and all you need is more love. I call that ‘sloppy’ love. Grace has been taught as such love. I beg to disagree. I think such teachings came into the Body through an attempt to remove anything that is offensive in the bible. God said, ‘If your eye causes you to stumble pluck it out’! That does not sound like love, does it? It depends on if you see sin for what it is-a destroyer of everything good. To get rid of sin like that you need love that has the highest interest of the loved one at heart. May be love needs to be properly defined as unconditional acceptance and divine confrontation. To think of love in the eyes of God as acceptance without loving confrontation is to create God in an image that He did not reveal Himself to be.
UNDERSTANDING GRACE. (The Definitions of Grace)
‘For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ.’ Titus 2:11-13.
Grace is here explained as bringing salvation and teaching us things that make for the purpose of grace to be a reality in our lives. Grace brings salvation, and grace teaches. The English definitions of grace include this: the supernatural assistance of God bestowed upon a rational being with a view to his salvation. (The Oxford popular English dictionary, 1990). The Greek definitions of the word-translated grace include the divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life. This includes that which is acceptable, brings benefit, favour, gift, joy, liberality and pleasure. Others include divine gratuity, which is deliverance from danger or passion; In the Hebrew, it is to stoop in kindness to an inferior. Grace is God’s disposition toward us mortal beings. He bestows on us His goodness in spite of our sinful nature and through His grace He begins the process that will bring us to the place of the full expression of the image of His Son Jesus Christ in our lives.
Grace is the active and dynamic tool that God uses to carry out His process in us to establish His Sovereign counsel and purposes in and through us, His covenant children. The final product is the restored sonship relationship with the Almighty God and the rule of His righteousness through His Son, Christ Jesus in the lives of believers all over. God’s love is the source of all grace. The purpose of grace is to process us and mould us into the predetermined pattern of His Son in every area of our lives. Our love for God positions us to receive and He gives grace to the humble, so humility also puts us in position to receive grace.
All we are and ever hope to be we can receive through the multi-dimensional grace of God.
Rev Kola Ewuosho