Friday, October 27, 2006

What is Grace?

The grace of God has been a major theme in my life, hence my naming my first born, Karis (charis) Elizabeth, and my third child Gloria Grace (Eph 1.6).

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.


Jon said...

"This resurrection power is now raising up a people who delight to do God’s will."

I was studying the resurrection yesterday and for the first time noticed its central role in the content of saving faith.

"If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved."

I noticed it doesn't say, "If you believe in your heart that he died for your sins you will be saved."

I was looking into this verse because I was trying to understand the verse that says, "He was raised for our justification."

The question arose for me, why did he have to be raised for our justification? I had always thought that we were justified by his death, not his resurrection. In looking into it, I started to notice that his present role as Mediator is contingent upon his resurrection. And also, if Jesus had not been raised, there would have been no Firstfruits in the new life.

Christopher said...

My reading of the New Testament says there are at least two major things going on in the work of Christ. First, his death atones for our sins. That is, he pays the penalty for our sin. Second, his resurrection vindicates (justifies) the elect. In the first place we are forgiven for our sin. In the second place we are born from above by being recreated in the image of Jesus. Yet since we are still in these mortal bodies which have not been changed, we enter into mortal combat with sin and Jesus intercedes for us as the commander in chief and sends his Holy Spirit to help us overcome the world, even as he did.

ESV Romans 8:34 Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died- more than that, who was raised- who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.