WHAT IS GRACE?

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Yelsew, Jul 1, 2003.

  1. Yelsew

    Yelsew
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    In the same manner as WHAT IS FAITH, there seems to be misunderstanding of what grace really is.
    </font>
    • What is Grace?</font>
    • What is the source of grace?</font>
    • Is grace an attribute of God, or a commodity God dispenses?</font>
    • What does grace do?</font>
    • What function does grace perform?</font>
    • Does man have grace as an attribute?</font>
    Here are the definitions Webster lists:
    grace, noun
    Etymology: Middle English, from Old French, from Latin gratia favor, charm, thanks, from gratus pleasing, grateful; akin to Sanskrit grnAti he praises Date: 12th century

    1 a : unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification b : a virtue coming from God c : a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace

    2 a : APPROVAL, FAVOR &lt;stayed in his good graces&gt; b archaic : MERCY, PARDON c : a special favor : PRIVILEGE &lt;each in his place, by right, not grace, shall rule his heritage -- Rudyard Kipling&gt; d : disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency e : a temporary exemption : REPRIEVE

    3 a : a charming or attractive trait or characteristic b : a pleasingly graceful appearance or effect : CHARM c : ease and suppleness of movement or bearing
    synonym: MERCY

    Webster's Definitions 4 thru 8 not included as they are not generally considered in a biblical sense.

    Let us start with What is GRACE? and work our way down the list.

    Yes, I am aware that there are other "religious dictionaries" and their definitions can be somewhat lengthy as in the case of FAITH. Which when boiled down is nothing more than a commentary on the term and not a definition. They are not significantly different than Webster's condensations. So rather than confuse the topic with everyone's "biblical dictionaries", where practical use Webster's as the basis.
     
  2. Eladar

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    The most important thing about a definition is the definition of the terms used in the definition.

    One cool thing about deleting older threads is the need to cover the same topic over and over again. [​IMG]
     
  3. Daveth

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    In a sense, every gift of God is a "grace". [​IMG]
     
  4. Yelsew

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    by which definition?
     
  5. GH

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    Ephesians 1

    3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 4For HE CHOSE us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In LOVE HE[3] predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with HIS pleasure and will-- 6to the praise of his glorious GRACE, which HE HAS FREELY given us in the One (JESUS) he loves. 7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's GRACE 8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding. 9And he[4] made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—TO BRING ALL THINGS IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH TOGETHER UNDER ONE HEAD, EVEN CHRIST.
    11In him we were also chosen,[5] having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the PURPOSE OF HIS WILL, 12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory.

    Grace is Love, God is Love and Love (God) never fails \o/

    WHAT IS GRACE?
    THE Greek word for "grace" is charis, and it is kindred to the word chara, joy. G. Campbell Morgan said, "Grace is that which gives joy. By the Greeks charis was used

    (1) of art, music, the beautiful, anything that gives joy;
    (2) of the desire to give joy to others. The word meant this before Christianity touched it.
    (3) Then it was used or both these things together, and
    (4) it is the activity that carries out the desire and actually gives joy. Predicate these mounting ideas of God.

    Grace is the desire in the heart of the blessed God to communicate His own joy to the hearts of others. Grace gladdens God. Grace is the passion of God to bless. Grace is the love of God seizing every opportunity to gladden the sinful and needful and graceless. Grace explains the mystery of the cross, for there grace took hold of sin and cancelled it."

    R. W. Dale's definition is worth remembering: "Grace is love which passes beyond all claims to love. It is love which after fulfilling the obligations imposed by law has still an unexhausted wealth of kindness."

    J.W. Jowett said: "Grace is energy. Grace is love energy. Grace is a redeeming love energy ministering to the unlovely and endowing the unlovely with its loveliness."
    And again, "Grace is the divine energy of holiness issuing in the ministry of love in quest of the unlovely, and by the communication of itself converting the unlovely into the lovely."

    Alex Whyte said: "Grace from its nature has only one direction it can take. Grace always flows down. Grace is love indeed, but it is God's love to creatures who do not deserve His love. And thus it is that God's love to sinners is always called grace in the epistles. All He does for us in Christ, and all that is disclosed to us of His good will in the gospel is called grace. It has been designated 'the speech of infinite love." George L. Rogers (Unsearchable Riches vol.16, p.28).


    Ephesians does not deal with the pardon of sins, but the forgiveness of offenses. It is not in the sphere of government, or of the courtroom, but of the home. It has reference, not to God's rule, or His righteousness, but His feelings. We are not forsaking justification for a lower benefit. We are going on to a higher, even if one of the terms is borrowed from the lower. We have not only sinned and are justified, but we have offended God, and are forgiven. This forgiveness, however, is not measured by the mercy shown to the Circumcision. That was temporary because its term depended on its possessor instead of on God. This forgiveness is according to the riches of His grace. It were wise never to leave off this phrase. It raises the matter of forgiveness to the level of the context and makes it glow with glory.

    Peace, GH

    My apologies if my post doesn't "fit" in with what is outlined above. I do the best I can with the abilities that have been given me by God to show the brilliance of WHO HE IS as it has been shown me.
     
  6. Carson Weber

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    "Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life. [Jn 1:12-18, 17:3; Rom 8:14-17; 2 Pet 1:3-4] Grace is a participation in the life of God. It introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life: by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ, the Head of his Body. As an "adopted son" he can henceforth call God "Father," in union with the only Son. He receives the life of the Spirit who breathes charity into him and who forms the Church."

    Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1996-1997

    For the rest of the definition on grace, visit:

    http://www.christusrex.org/www1/CDHN/salve.html#GRACE
     
  7. Bro. Curtis

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    Unmerited favor. Getting something we could never earn.
     
  8. Eladar

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    Which could be understood to mean the opportunity to be retrieved from our fallen state.

    How this is done is a different matter. No matter how one believes this is done, the mere fact that it is possible is "unmerited favor", which "we could never earn". [​IMG]
     
  9. Sola-Scriptura

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    Grace is tough to pin down as just unmerited favor or undeserved benefit to sinners.

    John 1:14
    And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

    Jesus entirely merited God's favor by His perfect obedience. He had no sin that required grace for forgiveness. Yet Jesus was "full of grace". So one definition of it must tie it intrinsicly to God's nature and let it stand alone there, not always meaning the favor shown to sinful creatures. Although we focus on it's saving aspects in the great doctrines of grace, like everything else about God, it is first His and not ours. What amazing grace!
     
  10. Yelsew

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    There seems to be some disparity regarding Grace. So let me list some clue words that may help us come to agreement on what GRACE is.

    Attribute, something that is true of
    Commodity, something that is transferrable
    Behavior, something that one does
    Quality, something that is true of, a distinguishing feature
    Characteristic, a trait or strain, or operational mode.
    Gift, something one gives to another, or that one has that sets one apart from others.

    There may be other words that could be used in a definition or characterization of GRACE. However, we are attempting to pin down a definition of Grace that applies to an individual such as God, or Man, and not art or nature, or works.
     
  11. Eladar

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    Although I'm not a Catholic, I have had this discussion a few times and I will give their position as I understand it. I would be happy if any Catholics would correct any misunderstanding.

    Attribute, something that is true of Grace is given to those who chose to accept it by joining the Catholic Church which is God's tool for dispensing grace.

    Commodity, something that is transferrable Grace is a commodity that God transfers to those who choose to participate in it. It is the source of power which allows the individual to follow God's command and grow to be more like Him. It is God's aid to man in man's journey to sactification.

    Behavior, something that one does There are rites and rituals within the church that God uses to give grace to individuals, but grace itself is not a behavior, although it does 'fuel' a person who is trying to become more like God.

    Quality, something that is true of, a distinguishing feature The distinguishing feature of a person who receives grace is the sanctification of the individual.

    The rest of the answers are pretty much like the ones I already gave. I do hope that a knowledgeable Catholic will come along and critique my answers.
     
  12. Yelsew

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    Attributes cannot be given, because they are true of the one having them. Man is created in the image of God and because God has, as an attribute, GRACE, then Man made in His image has Grace as an attribute. So God Gave to man in Creating him, Grace as an attribute. Therefore Grace is not "given" to anyone through one's choices of anything. Grace is already present within the man, God saw to that in creation.
    Grace is an Attribute, therefore it cannot be a commodity that is transferred from one to another. Grace is not an empowerment device, for grace has no power unto itself.
    I agree that Grace is not a behavior, but when one is behaving in accordance with one's grace, the behavior of the individual is different than when behaving in accordance with any other attribute.
    No, All have grace, but not all are sanctified by grace. Sanctification is the setting apart of that which is sanctified. Belief is that quality that distinguishes a believer from unbelievers, thus belief in Jesus sanctifies one in Jesus. Belief in Allah distinguishes one or sanctifies one as a Moslem. Belief in any specific doctrine sanctifies one to that doctrine.

    I believe that Grace is an attribute, that grace is not transferable as a commodity, that grace constrains behavior, and that Grace is the quality in us that enables others to see Christ in us. I believe that every human has grace within themselves, and that one must be trained in how to use and apply one's own grace. Jesus, and the apostles along with our parents and teachers, teach us how to use and apply our own grace. Our grace was given to us in the image of God in which we are created.

    God's Grace is what constrains him from meting out HIS justice upon sin, which if he unleashed HIS justice we humans would have but one chance to sin, then we would be paid our wage for sin which is death. God, in behaving in accordance with HIS Grace toward us, HIS created beings, Gave us a Gift of Grace, His only begotten Son, so that we could learn of HIM, and so that the wage for our sins would be paid by Jesus upon the Cross of Calvary. Thus in accordance with God's Grace we are no longer held accountable for our sins, but instead can live and learn and believe in God's only Son, and thereby have eternal life. God's Son, Jesus is the "Lamb of God, slain from the foundation of the world. Meaning that He existed and was marked out for the atonement of the sins of the world from before the creation of the world. It was always God's plan to have Jesus, His only begotten son be the propitiation for our sins. Therefore Jesus, "Emmanuel, God with us", has been with us since Adam and Eve. We are the beneficiaries of God's Gift given to us out of his Grace toward us.

    God's grace, and ours, is not a stand alone attribute. Grace works hand in hand with Love and Justice as well as knowledge, and the other mental and spiritual faculties. That is why it is difficult to "pin down". Grace is not dependent upon any other attribute or faculty, but instead works in cooperation with all of the attributes and faculties that God gave to man in the creation. God's Grace is not all that God is, any more than Love is what God is. Yes, it is said by the Beloved apostle that God is love, but if God is love, then love is God. There are many who behave like Love is God, but they miss the reality that God is so much more than Love.

    So, then my vote is that Grace is an attribute, that which is true of the one exhibiting it.
     
  13. Eladar

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    Sorry for my misunderstanding of what you were talking about. According to your definition, the Catholic position is that grace is not an attribute.
     
  14. Eladar

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    That is the problem when you start setting the ground rules. You decide what things mean. Then you start to argue about how someone misunderstood and that really muddies up the water.

    Is this discussion supposed to be about grace or is it supposed to be about the categories that you have decided to fit grace into, as if you were God.
     
  15. Daveth

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    [​IMG] Grace is not only unmerited favor (an attitude of God) toward the
    believer. Grace is 'God's love' the flow of Himself, bestowed in the person and is therefore truly experienced in different ways . A
    Christian is save through grace, which is a gift of God and not a reward
    for good works. However, because grace changes a person, he or she will
    show the effects of grace through the best they can by righteous living. [​IMG]
     
  16. Yelsew

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    Not in the least, I am looking at the realities of what Christian's say they believe in, and Grace is such a reality but what is it? What is the essence of Grace? Who can have grace? What does grace do? How does grace do what man says it does?

    I am not motivated to put anyone down for thinking as they do or adhering to a hand-me-down doctrine. My motivation is to find "common ground" and "common language" in which people who claim to be Christian can agree. So that, when one say they are saved by grace, we all know what they mean. Grace is one term in which there seems to be no common ground or language between "denominations" with different doctrines and practices.
     
  17. Eladar

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    If you are looking for a common ground, then look to Christ.

    You are not going to find your common ground in man's beliefs about how God works.
     
  18. Yelsew

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    Tuor, Christ is the Rock upon which his church is built. There is no other name underheaven whereby we must be saved.

    A basic understanding of how the things of God work is essential to having common ground in God. In John 3, Jesus said to Nicodemus, "If you do not understand the natural, how will you ever understand the spiritual?"

    What I've posted so far is an attempt to get us all to understand the natural so that we can understand the spiritual.
     
  19. Eladar

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    A basic understanding of how the things of God work is essential to having common ground in God. In John 3, Jesus said to Nicodemus, "If you do not understand the natural, how will you ever understand the spiritual?"

    I don't know how that quote from John 3 applies to grace, a spiritual matter.

    In any case, Catholics and Protestants do not share common ground on the issue of grace. If you are looking for common ground, you need to look somewhere esle.
     
  20. Yelsew

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    Grace is an attribute of Humanity be it spiritual or not! Grace is an Attribute of the Triune God. Grace in Man works the same as Grace in God. Grace is Grace!

    Yes, you are probably correct that Common Ground is not available. It does not seem to be available among protestants either.
     

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