what is grace?
A well known mnemonic describing Grace is "God's
Reconciliation At Christ's
Expense" What does this mean? In
short, grace means 'GIFT'. After we realize that it is our
nature is to focus on ourselves instead of God, we then find that God
provides the means (gift of Grace) to bring us back to Him.
When we realize that nothing we can ever do ever approach the majesty
of God, we then realize that God provides the means (gift of Grace)
again, to reconcile us to Him:
"It does not , therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy." Romans 9:16
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God." Ephesians 2:8
Since it is unearned, and a gift, it is hard for some people to
understand. Jesus explains the concept in a parable
describing 'payment' to laborers in a field. At the start of
the day the laborers were promised payment of a denarius.
Several hours later, some more laborers were hired, and several hours
later, again more laborers were hired. At the end of the day,
ALL of the laborers were paid the same amount - the promised
denarius. Those who were hired first 'grumbled', so the
landowner said to them:
"Friend, I am not being unfair to you, Didn't you agree to work for a denarius? Take your pay and go. I want to give the man who was hired last the same as I gave you. Don't I have the right to do what I want with my own money? Or are you envious because I am generous?" Matthew 20:13-15
In this example, Jesus described Grace in a way that people can understand it. The landowner displayed generosity, and 'un-earned' favor by paying those who had come to work later the same amount as those who had worked all day. The real message is not the plight of the workers, but the generosity of the landowner. The same is true with God's grace. There is nothing we can do to earn it, it is simply a gift we must choose to accept.
When we truly attempt to grasp the meaning of God's grace, it is quite humbling. No longer is God seen as the old tyrant looking for any reason to quash our fun or throw us into hell if we cross the line. Rather He has done EVERYTHING HE CAN to bring us to Him, even paying the price of the penalty (death) for our sins, even though we never deserve it! Through Grace He has shown us the ultimate expression of love. No wonder He expects us to follow suit if we are to represent Him and Jesus. Truly the Grace of God is one of the most significant themes of Christianity!
So to summarize, a Christian lives under God's grace, by living in Faith in Jesus the Christ:
"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God." Romans 5:1-2