What have we covered so far in Freedom Fridays? (I’m only included the posts that are actually in this “Learning to Walk in Freedom” series).
And now, Embrace Grace part 3.
We often talk about grace being how we believers are saved. And that’s a good thing! It’s so important to remember that we can’t come to Christ in our own effort or by following rules and we can’t continue to abide in Him through rules & effort.
But what else is grace? Is that all the word means?
I will preface this next section by saying I am not a Greek scholar. I have taken some Bible classes through our denomination, but no language classes at all and certainly not Greek. So the information I’m sharing is based on what I’ve learned through concordances, commentaries, and the teachings of others who have studied Greek. So take what I have to say as my experiences and the knowledge I have at this point and run with it 🙂
The Greek word that is often translated grace is “Charis“. It’s used about 148 times in the New Testament. Let’s take a look at a few examples of where this word was used in the New Testament, with the English word that Charis is translated into bolded (all passages are from the NASB).
1:30 The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary ; for you have found favor with God.
1:40 The Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom ; and the grace of God was upon Him.
2:52 And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
John 1:14, 16-17 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth….For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace. 17 For the Law was given through Moses ; grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 4:7 But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift.
2 Corinthians 12:9 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.
1 Timothy 1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service,
2 Timothy 2:1 You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.
Hebrews 12:28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe.
We see through many of these passages that grace is not a one-time event, but an on-going need, as we’ve been taking about in the past 2 Freedom Fridays. We can also observe Charis is translated grace, good will, favor, thanks, the token or proof of grace, benefit, and expanded definitions from the lexicon I linked above, “the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace” and “of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues”.
These last 2 are really what we’re going to discuss today.
Luke & John talked about how God’s grace was all over Jesus. Well, He never sinned and didn’t need to experience God’s grace in the way we do, so they must have been talking about something a little different. Could they have been talking about the condition of being governed by the power of divine grace?
In Acts 6:8, it states “Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.” Grace & power went hand-in-hand, enabling Stephen to carry out God’s supernatural works. Acts 7:46 talks about the Charis/favor David found in God, and Luke talks about the Charis/favor Mary had. Ephesian 4 talks about how the supernatural gifts and callings are given through grace as Christ gives/apportions it. James 4 says God gives grace to the humble and that grace enables us to submit to God and resist the devil.
There are a ton more passages that demonstrate the depth of this word Charis and the broadness of all that God means when He speaks this word to us. Beyond the forgiveness of sins, grace offers us some sort of supernatural power/favor for everyday life, for resisting sin, and for doing God’s work. Rather than discuss this further, I want to encourage you to go to the Word and pray that God would show you how to live in Charis, that He would reveal to you His Charis in your life, fill you with this power to live how He wants you to live, and that He would refresh you with His supernatural power and favor.