What, or Who, Is Grace?

Whether looked at from a secular or a Biblical standpoint, the word “grace” may be the most misunderstood word in the English language.  The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes it as “unmerited divine assistance,” “a virtue coming from God,” and “a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine grace.” It’s important enough to be mentioned more than 100 times in the Bible. But it’s more than just a concept—it’s the embodiment of Jesus Himself.

God has extended His grace to us because of His mercy and love. Don’t make the mistake of thinking it’s just a theoretical idea to be intellectually discussed; grace has real power. When God redeems us and makes us into new creatures in Him, the gift of grace gives us true freedom. Living in grace, instead of under the Law of sin and death, transcends us.

Grace is given to us not because of what we’ve done, how much money we’ve dropped into the collection plate on Sunday, or how nice we’ve tried to be to our neighbors. Grace is unmerited, unearned, and undeserved, a free gift from God, but not cheap. He gave us freedom from sin, but Jesus paid the ultimate price for us, through the shedding of His blood.

Grace is the description of Jesus, all that He’s done, and all that He is. His grace guides us to a holier lifestyle, helps us deny the temptations of the flesh, and teaches us the true meaning of servanthood. When He calls us out of the darkness into His light, we have an unlimited source of power to resist ungodliness and live a victorious lifestyle. It’s important to know what grace is, but it’s just as important to know what grace isn’t.

Grace isn’t a license to slack off and be a lazy Christian. “Resting in God” doesn’t mean coasting along, or settling for miserable circumstances. It means trusting in Him while working even harder to fulfill His will. Philippians 2:12, 13, tells us when we’re listening to God’s instructions we’ll want to do what He has called us to do.

First Corinthians 15:10, says, “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” The Lord is gracious, merciful, compassionate, and accepts us with a relentless, unconditional love. He wants us to be successful and prosperous. What better motivation to live our lives for the glory of the kingdom?

Grace is also not an excuse to hang on to a sinful lifestyle after we’ve been born again. Don’t be fooled. The freedom bestowed on us doesn’t mean we’re free to sin, it means we’re free not to sin. We’re free from its power and influence, because God’s power is infinitely stronger.

This divine gift is available to anyone, anywhere, even in the wilderness. There may be times in our lives when we feel alone, isolated, and stranded in the middle of nowhere. But we can trust that God, whose love is unfailing and unswerving, can find us anywhere and deliver us from whatever situation we find ourselves in. A proper understanding of grace ultimately empowers us to change and can free us for joyful obedience to God’s Word.

— Creflo A. Dollar