By: Gary L. Hutchens
Numerous volumes have been written, countless sermons and Bible classes have been taught, and conversational references are continually made in reference to The Grace Of God. But what do we mean when we speak of God’s grace?
The word “grace,” particularly in reference to God, is difficult to define fully. It has been commonly defined as “unmerited favor,” meaning some act of favor bestowed upon an individual who has not earned, and does not deserve, such favor.
Grace is easier to describe than it is to define. Each letter of the word has been used as an acrostic: God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense. The focus of the acrostic is to impress upon us the fact that God sent His Son to die on the cross as the perfect sacrifice to pay the price for the guilt of the sins of all mankind for all time. Humanity did not deserve that act of grace. God was certainly not obligated to extend such grace. But He did it anyway. The apostle Paul expressed it by stating, “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 5:8). That is The Grace Of God!
Justice is when we get what we deserve. Mercy is when we are spared from getting what we deserve. Grace is when we receive goodness that we do not deserve. All of us have received acts of grace bestowed upon us by others, particularly our parents. But none of those begin to compare with what God has done, and continues to do, for us through His grace.
God created us special, “in His own image,” (Gen. 1:27), “in the likeness of God.” (Gen. 5:1). He created us with a soul. Thus, we are spiritual as well as physical beings. God created man sinless and with the opportunity to live forever on this earth, having access to “the tree of life” (Gen. 2:9).
But God also created man with free will. The first man and woman used that free will in a foolish, disobedient and self-destructive way. They disobeyed God and thereby became sinners as they ate the fruit of “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,” of which God had forbidden them to eat (Gen. 3:1-7). They were no longer innocent and pure. God drove them out of the garden and away from access to “the tree of life” (Gen. 3:24).
As a result of their sinful disobedience God could have denied them any hope of reconciliation to Him. He could have rightly destroyed them then and there. Instead, He prophesied that He would send the Savior into the world, and through Him mankind would be given a second chance (Gen. 3:15; Rom. 16:20).
In spite of all of the subsequent sins committed by humanity throughout the ages, and such are still being committed, God kept His promise and sent the Savior, in the person of His own Son, to bear all of that guilt upon Himself on the cross (2 Cor. 5:21).
There was no way mankind could ever cover the guilt of their own sins. By The Grace Of God Jesus did that for us (Rom. 3:23-25). He died on the cross so we could be forgiven. Without God’s grace we would be hopelessly condemned in our sins…
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Gary L. Hutchens