Grace-November 20, 2013

Grace-November 20, 2013

And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,   Exodus 34:6

This verse in the Bible perhaps more than any other captures the fullness of God’s grace.  Grace is favor, action, doing what one could not do for themselves, favor, and mercy.

Grace whether it is in human relationships or divine-human relationships “grace” a positive light toward another.  It is an undeserved gift or favor, which can requested, freely given, given without coercion, and can be withheld.  Grace is characteristically a favor for a specific occasion given by a superior to an inferior.  Grace is not passive but rather active.  It is action that is requested, God’s action for poor, oppressed, ill, forgiveness of sins, and even after repentance for restoration and promise.

Steadfast love (grace, hesed) there is no English translation that captures the full content of this term, the standard renderings include “kindness,” “steadfast love,” “covenant love,” and the like.  All passages mentioning this term concern the attitude and activity of God toward humankind, they can be understood to be speaking of divine grace.

Five Characteristics

1-      Grace is action usually one of deliverance or protection

2-      The action of grace is based on and performed in an existing relationship

3-      The action of grace is requested or expected by someone who is in a position of authority or plenty

4-      Grace is not a legal requirement, obligation, and cannot be coerced or compelled to action and remains free not to be given or performed

5-      Grace fulfills an essential need that the person cannot meet themselves, and which cannot be achieved any other way (it cannot be earned or acquired, only asked for and received).

In human relationships grace depends upon an unbroken relationship and in good repair between the two parties, with God grace is His unexpected decision to restore and repair the broken relationship.  With God grace happens and restores relationship, while we were yet sinners Christ died for us.

Mercy is like grace but involves the movement of one toward the other moved my love or pity.  It is mercy that we find both in the redemption and promises to Israel and us.

Grace is not what we say at a meal or Thanksgiving it is the work and love of God in redemption.  It is not what is said but the way in which we live.

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