Does grace always mean "unmerited favor"?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by webdog, Dec 21, 2009.

  1. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    James 4:6...
    But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says:
    "God opposes the proud
    but gives grace to the humble."

    Two things here. God doesn't give grace to the proud, but gives it to the humble. This would seem to imply humility is a requirement for grace, making grace meritorious.

    If grace always means unmerited favor, how is this passage reconciled with that definition?
     
  2. Johnv

    Johnv
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    21,321
    Likes Received:
    0
    I could be wrong, but I always thought there were two types of grace. The first is unmarited, such as salvation, and the second is merited, such as blessing and favor resulting from righteousness.
     
  3. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    ...but even salvation requires faith.
     
  4. Johnv

    Johnv
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    21,321
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yeah, but I wouldn't call that a merit. It's no different than a kid getting an iPod from his parents for Chrismas. The kid didn't do anything to earn it, but the kid must still open the present. The opening of the present doesn't equate merit.
     
  5. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    May have just found my own answer :laugh:

    James 4:6 is a quote from Proverbs, which is wisdom literature, and is not necessarily true in every circumstance :)

    For instance, I would assume Saul was quite proud as a Pharissee, and as we know, humility was not en vogue for them. Jesus appearing to Saul on the road to Damascus would seem to contradict this.
     
  6. Marcia

    Marcia
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Messages:
    11,139
    Likes Received:
    0
    News alert! I am actually agreeing with Johnv. :laugh:
     
  7. Johnv

    Johnv
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    21,321
    Likes Received:
    0
    It must be a cold day in DC.... :wavey:
     
  8. Marcia

    Marcia
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2004
    Messages:
    11,139
    Likes Received:
    0
    It is, though a few degrees warmer than yesterday. LOL! :wavey:
     
  9. webdog

    webdog
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2005
    Messages:
    24,691
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know it's bad there...but I'd hardly call it hell :laugh:
     
  10. Johnv

    Johnv
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    21,321
    Likes Received:
    0
    I didn't say hell, I said DC. Oh, wait, nevermind. :tonofbricks:
     
  11. zrs6v4

    zrs6v4
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2007
    Messages:
    986
    Likes Received:
    2
    Ill take a wack at it...

    I would say that grace is the reason why we are humble and have faith and fear the Lord and all of those results. We dont know the secret of this grace but we react to it. It is an unmerrited act of God's mercy, not as a result of anything we did to receive this gift. Its almost as if God chooses to bless, comes to the person, and then a ton of things comes at similar times. Faith, humility, love, and other fruits of the Spirit.So I would say humility is a result of the Spirits work within. and in this position of heart (reverance, sorrow, and whatever else) the person results in faith and is pleasing before God. The key is that God creates the series of impacts in some mysterious way (the Holy Spirit) because of His mercy and love. I hope I didnt sound really confusing as I normally do :). It makes sense that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom and knowledge. I would assume that it is the revelation of God at heart (or standing in the presence of the Spirit within) and when before God in this position one can only be all of those things that the bible speaks of that are good before God. At the end of James 3:13-18 he contrasts Wisdom from above and then shows how it responds.. If you read on in 4 it almost seems like God is leaving it up to us to come to Him and waits for us to pursue Him, but I think that is easily misunderstood in light of other Scripture. I think what James means is that wholeheartedly seek God and dont be a fool who is decieved. This is because when God's Spirit is moving people "must" wholeheartedly flee from sin to Christ. If you say you have God and dont pursue God, then that would be deception. This would even apply to anyone. So with the fact that we a desperate for God's grace working in and before us, we must work even harder to make ourselves slaves before God so to speak. And this should be a desire, hah, thanks to the Spirit.
     
    #11 zrs6v4, Dec 21, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2009
  12. canadyjd

    canadyjd
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2005
    Messages:
    3,896
    Likes Received:
    0
    I can see grace as always meaning the "unmerited favor" of God.

    God's purpose in giving the "grace" can be different according to the situation. I basically see two types of "grace".

    1. Salvific grace: The unmerited favor that results in salvation.

    example: (Eph. 2) "you are saved by grace through faith..."

    2. Enabling grace: The unmerited favor that enables a Christian to accomplish God's will in the midst of persecution and/or suffering.

    example: (2 Cor. 12:9) "And He said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness'".

    I believe scripture speaks of the "enabling grace" of God in the lives of Christians as often, perhaps more often, than salvific grace.

    In fact, IMHO, whenever Paul prays for God "grace" toward his readers, I believe he is speaking of "enabling grace" since he is addressing them as believers.

    Concerning whether a believer "earns/merits" the enabling grace by being "humble", I would say a believer would not be "humble" had God not already poured out salvific grace in their lives, bringing conviction of Holy Spirit.

    peace to you:praying:
     
    #12 canadyjd, Dec 21, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2009

Share This Page

Loading...