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Another religious topic... sorry!

Posted by on Apr. 1, 2010 at 3:12 PM
  • 3 Replies

On S at church, my pastor was talking about the one thing that separates Christianity from other religions, Grace.

It got me thinking. If this is the one thing that make Christianity different, why does it seem like most Christians forget all about it?

I know that I forget to extend grace to others like Christ did to me, but it's something that I'm working on.

What do you all think? And if you are of another religion and you feel that the concept of grace is included please share. I don't want this to be bashing post, I just wonder what others think.

by on Apr. 1, 2010 at 3:12 PM
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Replies (1-3):
Kaelansmom
by on Apr. 1, 2010 at 3:16 PM

 Grace is something everyone can and should have. I am a Wiccan and it comes along with the package. :)

Oliviasmom66
by on Apr. 1, 2010 at 3:21 PM

Thanks for sharing! :)

MemawBrie
by on Apr. 1, 2010 at 4:32 PM

IMHO, I think any "religion" worth having should include grace.  

I looked up the definition of grace from a secular dictionary:

noun, verb,graced, grac·ing.
–noun
1. elegance or beauty of form, manner, motion, or action.
2. a pleasing or attractive quality or endowment.
3. favor or good will.
4. a manifestation of favor, esp. by a superior: It was only through the dean's grace that I wasn't expelled from school.
5. mercy; clemency; pardon: an act of grace.
6. favor shown in granting a delay or temporary immunity.
7. an allowance of time after a debt or bill has become payable granted to the debtor before suit can be brought against him or her or a penalty applied: The life insurance premium is due today, but we have 31 days' grace before the policy lapses. Grace period.
8. Theology.
a. the freely given, unmerited favor and love of God.
b. the influence or spirit of God operating in humans to regenerate or strengthen them.
c. a virtue or excellence of divine origin: the Christian graces.
d. Also called state of grace. the condition of being in God's favor or one of the elect.
9. moral strength: the grace to perform a duty.
10. a short prayer before or after a meal, in which a blessing is asked and thanks are given.
11. (usually initial capital letter) a formal title used in addressing or mentioning a duke, duchess, or archbishop, and formerly also a sovereign (usually prec. by your, his, etc.).
12. Graces, Classical Mythology. the goddesses of beauty, daughters of Zeus and Eurynome, worshiped in Greece as the Charities and in Rome as the Gratiae.
13. Music. grace note.
–verb (used with object)
14. to lend or add grace to; adorn: Many fine paintings graced the rooms of the house.
15. to favor or honor: to grace an occasion with one's presence.
16. fall from grace,
a. Theology. to relapse into sin or disfavor.
b. to lose favor; be discredited: He fell from grace when the boss found out he had lied.
17. have the grace to, to be so kind as to: Would you have the grace to help, please?
18. in someone's good/badgraces, regarded with favor (or disfavor) by someone: It is a wonder that I have managed to stay in her good graces this long.
19. with bad grace, reluctantly; grudgingly: He apologized, but did so with bad grace. Also, with a bad grace.
20. with good grace, willingly; ungrudgingly: She took on the extra work with good grace.
 
Now, I'd like to cover the Scriptural meaning:  Grace is almost the sweetest word in the Bible, from a Christian perspective.  

“Grace” derives from the Greek, charis. In secular Greek, charis was related to chairo, “to rejoice.” As far back as Homer it denoted “sweetness” or “attractiveness.” It came to signify “favor,” “goodwill,” and “lovingkindness” — especially as granted by a superior to an inferior.

In the New Testament, “grace” is mentioned 156 times and takes on a special redemptive sense in which God makes available His favor on behalf of sinners, who actually do not deserve it.  A good acronym is God's Riches At Christ's Expense.

There is tremendous emphasis in the New Testament upon the fact that human salvation is the result of God's grace. This beautiful truth should never be minimized. At the same time, it must not be perverted. Unfortunately, much too often those with only a superficial concept of “grace” have hijacked the term and imposed upon it a sense alien to scriptural teaching.  Consider some of the precious Bible truths associated with the concept of salvation by grace.

God’s grace has been offered to the entire human race. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men . . .” (Titus 2:11). This does not mean that every soul will be "saved."   What this does suggest is that God’s grace is potentially available to all who care to access it by means of the divine plan of redemption (Romans 5:1; 6:3-4,17).

The access to God’s grace is by means of an objective body of revelation. Paul noted: “For the grace of God has appeared . . . instructing us . . ” (Titus 2:11-12). Christianity is a taught religion. Isaiah, speaking of the messianic age, exclaimed: “. . . he will teach us of his ways . . .” (2:3). Jesus Himself declared: “It is written in the prophets, And they will all be taught of God. Every one that has heard from the Father, and has learned, comes unto me” (John 6:45).

God’s grace is not dispensed apart from an instruction that requires both understanding and obedience.  In these days when there is a tendency to “stampede” people into the church, with minimal comprehension of what they are doing, this is a crucial matter to emphasize.

Grace isn't something that we can earn, and it's not something any of us deserves.  Grace excludes merit.  We must constantly remind ourselves that humanity is not deserving of salvation.  No one can “earn” pardon by works of human merit.  If that were the case, we could boast regarding our redemption; and Christ would have died in vain.  (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Even if we were able to perform everything God commands, we would still need to regard ourselves as “unprofitable servants” (Luke 17:10).  Jesus taught that our sins have put us head-over-heels in debt, and no person has the innate ability to liquidate that obligation (Matthew 18:24-27), aside from His sacrifice made on our behalf.

When this concept is truly grasped, service to Almighty God will flow with a freshness and zeal that invigorates the soul.  A failure to comprehend the true significance of grace is the reason many church members are spiritually lethargic.

The wages (what we've earned and deserve) of sin is death...eternal separation from God.  Romans 6:23.  But instead of giving us what we deserve...we are extended grace, unmerited favor.

Grace is accessed initially at the point of gospel obedience. It is shocking that so many sincere people are unaware of the fact that “grace” and “obedience” are not enemies. Paul affirmed that grace is accessed by faith (Romans 5:1-2; Ephesians 2:8-9).  It is not, however, a faith void of loving response to God; it is a faith that acts (James 2:21-26).

Consider this fact. In Ephesians 2:8, the apostle states that one is “saved by grace through faith.”  “Saved” and “cleansed” represent the same idea. The reception of grace, is done by means of the “faith” system.

Eternal life is the result of grace (“grace of life,” 1 Peter 3:7, i.e., life resulting from grace).  Heaven’s grace plan system includes obedience.

To express the matter another way, Christ “saves us, through the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Spirit” (Titus 3:5).  This is equivalent to being “justified by his grace” (v. 7). Obedience and grace do not stand in opposition to one another.

The state of grace must be embraced continuously; otherwise one will fall from divine favor, and his initial reception of Heaven’s grace will have been “in vain” (2 Corinthians 6:1; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:10).  This does not mean you will lose your salvation, it simply means that when we sin, we lose our "fellowship" with God.  Just like when your child disobeys you...they don't stop being your child, your relationship hasn't been severed, but your "partnership" if you will, has. You're no longer working together as a team.   Instead of the parent/child relationship, you have to step into the role of disciplinarian, using whatever method you choose to correct the bad behavior/disobedience.  

God turns His back on sin, and until we confess and repent of our sin, He will not hear our prayers.  However, in 1 John 1:9 it tells us that if we confess our sins, God is faithful to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  At which point our fellowship will be restored.

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