Grace is often used interchangeably with the Christian ideas of mercy and forgiveness. Although these are aspects of grace, grace is not exclusively mercy. Grace is not exclusively forgiveness. More accurate is the understanding of grace as the “unmerited favor” of God.
What does it mean to have the “unmerited favor” of God?
If something is unmerited, then it is not based on merit or worthiness. We can never be good enough to earn the grace of God.
There is no goodness we naturally possess that will ever be enough for God to look favorably on us. In-fact, we are told that any good thing we posses came from God in the first place. He made us. He made our natures. He created the world we live in. Nothing we have came from us. How could we possibly earn anything from the One who made everything? It’s simply impossible.
However, if God is favorable to us, then that means a few things.
Considering that all things are made by Him—things that we have only tasted in this life and have no real understanding of—how much more could we gain?
These are so important because without mercy and forgiveness we would have no hope. We have all done things worthy of death because we have all brought death to this world in some capacity due to our sin nature.
However, there is more.
The grace of God brings healing of our minds so that we are free from the destructive things we do that harm ourselves and others.
The grace of God brings gifts of His Spirit so that we can better serve the brethren, and by extension, serve Him.
The grace of God means that all things are working together for our good, even the trying things.
The grace of God means that we will suffer. Suffering makes us stronger. Suffering humbles us so that we can receive more of Him and be faithful to that which we receive. Suffering teaches us how to walk more after the Spirit and less after the world.
The grace of God means that we will have truth in a world of lies.
The grace of God means that we will inherit with the Son. As Jesus says, “Those who overcome will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I overcame and am sat down with my Father in His throne.”
There is so much to grace. So much that this little post does not do grace justice.
I just want to encourage any who read this to think about it. Do we use grace and forgiveness or mercy interchangeably and to the exclusion of all the rest that grace entails, thereby robbing ourselves and others of the immeasurable wealth that we have to pursue in the Kingdom of our God?
If God favors us, who can be against us? Even if someone is against us, we know that as Jesus said, “you would have no power over me unless the Father gave it.”
If God favors us, what do we have to fear?
If God favors us, why do we need the favor of man?
If God favors us, why do we claim defeat to any device of the adversary of our soul?
We cannot lose. Even if we seem to fail, it is the favor of God working in us, making us stronger, drawing us nearer to His Kingdom.
If God favors us, how can we not pity and want mercy for those who receive less favor?
If God favors us, how can we think ourselves any bit better than another, knowing that anything good we have was received by Him?
If God favors us, how can we live our lives without doing our upmost to lead unbelievers to Him?
We should do what we can to love our enemies, but the lack of love between the brethren is most disheartening.
Everyone wants to be “the greatest in the kingdom of heaven,” but who wants to sacrifice themselves for the brethren, and in turn, for He who sacrificed Himself for us? Who wants to give up their loyalties to their denomination in favor of a unified body? Who wants to give up their lucrative ministries and church buildings in favor of the temple “not built with hands?” Who wants to give up their pride and foolish self-sufficiency in favor of unifying with brethren who could add to them and make them stronger?
If God favors our brethren, why do we accuse them?
If God favors our brethren, why do we mistreat them?
If God favors our brethren, why do we compete with them or feel envious of them?
If God favors our brethren, why do we reject them?
If God favors our brethren, why don’t we favor them also?
If God favors us, do we favor Him? He who said, “what you do to the least of these my brethren, you do also to me?”
If we believe that Jesus is the Son of God who was slain and risen again for the forgiveness of our sins, then we are favored. God loved us enough to give His Son for us. Jesus gave up more than we can really know so that we can live and inherit with Him.
This grace we so easily and sometimes cheaply throw around means something.
The grace of God means so very much. We have the immeasurable gift of the favor of the Almighty. How amazing! Let us really consider.