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Bible Dictionary: Define Grace, Definition of Grace


Definition of Grace:  

Grace, which is accessed only by faith, is the power of God by which He does righteousness through anyone who will yield to Him.

Grace is perhaps one of the most misunderstood words, along with faith, in the entire Bible. And it is one of the most important. Some people define grace as forgiveness. Some people define grace as good manners. Some people define grace as mercy. None of these are good definitions of grace. Grace is so much more than that. See also: charis (the power of God for His work)  

  • Grace is the only means by which any person can ever do any good works. It is faith that gives access to grace, and faith only comes by an utterance of God, that is, God must be leading and the person receiving faith must be in submission.
  • Grace, in Greek, is the word, charis. In addition to charis, there is the word charismata, which is a word related to charis, but it is only used in reference to what have become known as the nine gifts of the Spirit, which are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12.

The following is a quote from as of 12-18-2012:  

"Grace in this context is something that is God-given, made possible only by Jesus Christ and none other. It is God's gift of salvation granted to sinners for their salvation. Common Christian teaching is that grace is unmerited mercy (favor) that God gave to humanity by sending his son to die on a cross, thus delivering eternal salvation. However, this definition alone may not cover all uses of the term in scripture. For example Luke 2:40 (King James Version) "And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, filled with wisdom: and the grace of God was upon him." In this example when using the definition of grace to mean unmerited favor it does not make sense that the sinless Christ would need this. Equally how can one fall short of grace (James 4:6) or meekness attract it and pride repel it (Galations 5:4) if it is unmerited. James Ryle has suggested "Grace is the empowering Presence of God enabling you to be who He created you to be, and to do what He has called you to do." Alternatively Bill Gothard has suggested "Grace gives us the desire and the power that God gives us to do his will."[1] Both of these definitions make good sense of the word grace throughout the Bible."  

Romans 1:5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

Romans 3:23-24 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:

  • Forgiveness is certainly a free gift, but grace goes far beyond forgiveness. So many Christians remain powerless and in bondage when this is totally unnecessary because of the free gift, that is, grace.

Romans 4:3-4 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.

Romans 5:1-2 Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

Strong's Definitions from both Old and New Testaments

grace is the only thing that gives us power to stand.

Romans 5:3-4 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope: And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us.

  • The Holy Spirit is specifically named in many scriptures as being the gift (charis) of God to us.

Romans 5:5-8 For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

  • Some, to make a point, have said that God does not hate the sin and love the sinner. Their point is that, when someone comes to Christ, God sets them free from their sin, and that is a good point. The fact is that God does hate sin. It is also true that God loves sinners and desires that every one of them should be saved. In Romans 5:8, it is very clear that God so loved the world, while we were yet sinners, that He gave His only begotten (unique) Son to die for us so that we could be saved.

Romans 5:9-11 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.

  • Atonement is received. It is a gift given freely from God.
  • Note that this Scripture makes a difference between the act of reconciliation (that is, being born again) and the act of being saved (that is, coming to perfection in Christ).

Romans 5:12-15 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. But not as the offense, so also is the free gift. For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded to many.

Romans 5:5:16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offenses to justification. For if by one man's offense death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)

  • Note again the reference to having righteousness reign. Righteousness is part of grace. Real righteousness is by grace through faith. Grace actually does the works in us. When we try to do works, we just get in the way of grace. Paul called it frustrating the grace of God. But if we let grace reign in our lives, grace will do righteous works in us.

Romans 5:18-21 Therefore as by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men to justification of life. For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That as sin hath reigned to death, even so might grace reign through righteousness to eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.

  • Again, Paul tells us the grace reigns through righteousness. God does the work in and through us.

Romans 6:1-2 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?  

Romans 6:14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.

  • God is very good and leaves no doubt in our minds regarding the nature of grace. There's power for righteousness and life in grace.

Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;

  • How interesting it is that the gifts of the Spirit that we are given (through the laying on of hands and prophecy of the presbytery) are given according to the grace/free gift/charis that God gave us.

1 Corinthians 3:10 According to the grace of God which is given to me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

  • Paul didn't claim credit for the work that he did. He let it be known that it was the grace of God that did the building.

1 Corinthians 15:10 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.

  • Again, Paul gives the credit to the grace/free gift/charis of God.

2 Corinthians 1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.

  • Conversation, in this verse, means the whole manner of life. Again, the grace of God does the good works. Our works would be filthy rags, but His works are not filthy rags.

2 Corinthians 6:1-3 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.) Giving no offense in any thing, that the ministry be not blamed:

  • The ministry is not the person. The ministry is the living Christ in the Christian. The ministry grows out of the gift of the Spirit. The gift of the Spirit is given by the laying on of hands by those who are ordained to lay hand on--the presbytery. The grace of God is not given for a vain reason. It should be manifest in the life of the Christian. The reason people say that Christians are hypocrites is that the Christian is not walking in submission to the grace of God. They frustrate the grace of God by trying to do their own dead works. As a result, the heathen blame the ministry.

2 Corinthians 8:6 Insomuch that we desired Titus, that as he had begun, so he would also finish in you the same grace also.

  • Here is a reference to maturing to the fullness of Christ.

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work:

2 Corinthians 9:13-15 Whiles by the experiment of this ministration they glorify God for your professed subjection to the gospel of Christ, and for your liberal distribution to them, and to all men; And by their prayer for you, which long after you for the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.

Galatians 1:6-7 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ to another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.

Galatians 2:21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

  • Paul didn't try to add human works to the works that grace does in every Christian who believes for it.

Galatians 5:1-5 Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say to you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect to you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

  • They were waiting, and we are waiting for the hope of righteousness by faith. As we wait, God does His work through us. If we go out on our own trying to dream up some works to do, then we frustrate the grace of God. Grace has power for righteousness.
  • Some have said that this righteousness won't affect our lifestyle, but that is not the case. This gift of righteousness is real as 1 John 3:7 shows us.

1 John 3:7 Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous.

  • And 1 John 3:10 shows us the same thing.

1 John 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

  • Again, in 1 John 2:29:

1 John 2:29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.

Ephesians 1:5-9 Having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; Having made known to us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself:

  • Forgiveness, wisdom and prudence all come through grace. Grace has power.

Ephesians 2:5-10 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened [made us alive] us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Ephesians 3:7-9 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

  • The grace of God is required in order to minister. The ministry flows from the gift. The gift does not come from the ministry.

Ephesians 4:29 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.

Philippians 1:6-7 Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: Even as it is meet for me to think this of you all, because I have you in my heart; inasmuch as both in my bonds, and in the defence and confirmation of the gospel, ye all are partakers of my grace.

Colossians 1:6 Which is come to you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace of God in truth:

Colossians 4:6 Let your speech be alway with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.

2 Thessalonians 1:12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 2:9 But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.

Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Hebrews 10:29 Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite to the Spirit of grace?

Hebrews 12:15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled;

Hebrews 12:27-29 And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: For our God is a consuming fire.

Hebrews 13:9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

James 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble.

1 Peter 1:10-11 Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come to you: Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.

1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

1 Peter 4:10 As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.

2 Peter 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

2 John 1:3 Grace be with you, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father, in truth and love.

  • There are many references like 2 John 1:3.

Jude 1:4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

As Christ-followers, are just beginning to understand the meanings of the words, grace, faith, love, righteousness, holiness, and redemption. We will only really understand them when we have fully walked into them. It is one experience to have a theoretical framework to know about Jesus, however it is a very different experience to become like Jesus, to have Him formed within us, to come to the manifestation of the sons of God. All who hear His voice have found some measure of this transfiguration, and that is all that any of us really know about faith and grace and how they work.  

Regarding the word charismata, which is a word related to charis, but it is only used in reference to what have become known as the nine gifts of the Spirit, which are mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12. All over the internet, one can find theologians and scholars who have a form of religion but deny the power thereof. From such, turn away. They deny the Scriptures regarding spiritual gifts, following those who eliminate Scriptures by saying they only applied in a former time. It is a fact that there are false gifts, but that fact doesn't make the real gifts of the Spirit any less real.

Last updated: Mar, 2013

Strong's Definitions of Grace

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