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GRACE: The Power that Changes Us

Updated: Apr 5, 2023


Maybe you and I are alike. Maybe not.

I know and love Jesus. If you do too, then we are alike.


It's in our new nature to try to find points of agreement with others to see just how long and how close we can walk together.


Jesus buried me in baptism, raised me up with Him, a long time ago now. My life with Him, as a disciple has been a full one. An abundant one.


For so long I walked as a child, still do. Slow. Easily distracted. Trusting. Focused only on what He was doing in the moment. I'm getting older now. I am still a child in many ways. When He fills me with joy. When He shows me some new wonder in His world. I also bear the marks of an adult.

"When I became a man I put away childish things."

One of the childish things I put away recently? Thinking I know the meaning of a word, just because I've heard it used a certain way in a certain context over and over.


Here's one example: GRACE.


Ephesians 2:8 "For it is by GRACE you have been saved..."


What I was taught was... GRACE means undeserved favor.

So we don't receive God's grace, or favor because we earn it or deserve it, but rather because He is full of grace and very generous in what He shares with people.

It is a good definition.

It is correct.


But that's not ALL that GRACE is.


As I read Bible Study Tools, helps, look at words and their definitions, their roots and their forms, often the Holy Spirit will take a word I think I know, a word like grace, and sculpt its meaning. Like last summer we had a pile of stones dropped off to fix our driveway and actually create parking spaces. It started looking real rough, but through a lot of patience and hard work we ended up with a pretty nice gravel driveway. My first definition of GRACE was like the pile of gravel, full of potential and truth, but then God came along and leveled it

out making it even more useful.


Here's what I mean.


According to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance GRACE g5485 charis means...

"grace, favor come from chairo; graciousness (as gratifying), of manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual; especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; including gratitude) -- acceptable, benefit, favour, gift, grace(- ious), joy, liberality, pleasure, thank(-s, -worthy)."


If I only view GRACE as undeserved favor (which it is) what else do I remain ignorant of? How about what you just read?

"...graciousness ... of manner or act ... especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life.."


GRACE then is also...

1. divine influence upon the heart

AND

2. its reflection in the life.


I know, I know. When studying Scripture you are dealing with foreign languages and their translations and interpretations... yep. Caution is in order. I certainly can't ignore context. How is GRACE used elsewhere in Scripture. Also, the context of a word and how it is used throughout the Bible affect our understanding of its definition as much or more than the definition of the word itself.


In the case of GRACE g5485... divine influence upon the heart and its reflection in the life is an aspect of its meaning that colors many of its uses.

For example: up until now you may have thought of GRACE as the undeserved favor of God upon your life. This is plainly apparent when Jesus saves us. He saves us by grace. It is His lavish unbelievable favor and we do not deserve it.


But I hope now you also are thinking about this.


Jesus saved us by His grace. It is by His divine power that our hearts were influenced to even consider humbling ourselves under His mighty hand to ask for forgiveness and new life. Also it is by His grace that all this divine power working in us, on the inside, can actually grow to become something visible and experienced on the outside!


My understanding of GRACE then grew from a childlike one to a more adult one in how big and powerful God is. Also I now become less like an adult and more like a child when I realize how much I NEED JESUS to work in me.


GRACE is Jesus' power in me, at work, changing me, reflecting in my life. No, I don't deserve it, but He's doing it anyway and there is no one more glad than I am.


Finally, I will let you in on a little secret... I told you all of this just so I could write another article and share what is really on my heart...


The things that I believe today must change because it is what I believe that leads me closer to Christ who changes me.




Until next time... Pastor David.

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