BDAG offers at least five ways the Greek word charis is used in scripture:
1. a winning quality or attractiveness that invites a favorable reaction, graciousness, attractiveness, charm, winsomeness
2. a beneficent disposition toward someone, favor, grace, gracious care/help, goodwill
3. practical application of goodwill, (a sign of) favor, gracious deed/gift, benefaction
4. exceptional effect produced by generosity, favor
5. response to generosity or beneficence, thanks, gratitude
Under the forth definition there is a short entry that touches upon a significant aspect of grace:
The charis of God manifests itself in various charismata: Ro 12:6; Eph 4:7; 1 Pt 4:10. This brings into view a number of passages in which charis is evidently to be understood in a very concrete sense. It is hardly to be differentiated fr. dunamis theou or fr. gnosko or doxa
Grace is “hardly to be differentiated from the power of God.” Is this not the gospel? The grace of God is not merely some cosmic idea about God’s favor, but rather, it is the very power of God used in beneficial ways on behalf of his people.
If there was one thing that I think the PCA needs to learn, it is this. Grace is not merely God’s disposition towards fallen men that keeps him from destroying us, but is rather, the power of God to transform the lives of broken rebellious children of Satan into well ordered and obedient children on God.
This is the message of Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians. The same power which raised Jesus from the dead is now at work in those who were formerly call sons of disobedience. This resurrection power is now raising up a people who delight to do God’s will.
When this powerful grace of God is at work in our lives, then the peace of God which surpasses understanding settles upon our lives.