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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

1. General meaning and presuppositions

( a ) Divine prevenience and generosity .-Grace is a theistic idea. It emerges inevitably in the progress of religious thought and practice with the idea of God’s separateness from man (cf. in India, Brahmanism; in Greece, Orphism). It deepens in character and content in the growing sense of separateness, with the concurrent conviction, ever deepening in intensity, of the Divine goodness in sustaining fellowship with man (cf. in Israel, Hebraism, Judaism). It attains perfect form in Christianity, whose Founder exhibits a personal life so dependent on and penetrated by God as to reach absolute maturity simply through the Divine power immanent within it-the ceaseless sense, possession, and operation of the Divine Spirit. Irresistibly the soul’s interior experience of that fellowship postulates a realm of Divine prevenience and generosity. Generally the postulate embraces three features: the priority of God, His self-donation to man, His regard and care for man’s salvation-all making emphatic the givenness of man’s best life, the Divine action inviting his. Grace is thus a purely religious affirmation expressing the soul’s assurance that God’s goodness is the beginning, medium, and end of its life. Here God is not simply a great First Cause: first in time, foremost in space; He is rather the background and dynamic force of man’s inner being, and, for its sake, of all created being; enfolding and comprehending it, giving it its origin, reason of existence, unity, completeness, final end; the envelope of the whole by which the parts do their best and issue in their most fruitful results, so that the soul is a harmony of linked forces,*[Note: Tennyson’s picture of ‘the awful rose of dawn’ in the Vision of Sin.]Divine and human. Here, too, the soul’s blessedness is not simply the gift of God. The soul’s life is through Himself-‘His very self and essence all-Divine.’†[Note: Newman’s hymn: ‘Praise to the Holiest in the height.’]Its various stages, the growing process of His grace, do not depend, nay, disappear when made to depend, on merely mental reference to His acts, or on merely self-originating impulses. Such attachment of the human to the Divine is too superficial. The inadequacy of man’s spirit to work out its own perfection is irremediable. Salvation is only secure in utter and entire dependence on the Divine Life, distinct from man’s, the life which precedes and from which proceeds all his capacity for good: in which, truly, ‘we live and move and have our being.’

( b ) The Christian experience .-The apostolic doctrine of grace presupposes the distinctive Christian experience. The NT teaching falls into three groups: Synoptic, Pauline, Johannine. The first reproduces the most immediately and literally faithful picture of Christ’s sayings; the second and third present the earliest impressive developments of His sayings in individual realization, and are rich in exposition and explanation of the subjective apprehension and appropriation of Divine grace. It is the process in man’s activity that is detailed more than the analysis of the attribute in God. Between the two types we are conscious of marked contrasts, not only in their form but in the substance and mode. Along with a deep underlying unity of fundamental thought, it is true to say that the consciousness of the apostles is not identical with the consciousness of Christ. Christ is not repeated in them.‡[Note: , for an admirable discussion of this point, P. T. Forsyth, The Person and Place of Jesus Christ, 1909.]The teaching of both is the direct transcript of their spiritual history; but their spiritual constitution is so radically different that their teaching is bound to have radical differences. ‘He spoke as the sinless Son of God; they wrote from the standpoint of regenerated men.’§[Note: P. Paterson, The Apostles’ Teaching, pt. i.: ‘The Pauline Theology,’ 1903, p. 5.]The principle of sin alters the whole position. The view-points for estimating grace increase. Thus it is that while Christ speaks little, if at all, of grace, it is a central conception of the apostles. Therefore also, while grace is in both, it is ‘in Christ’ in a vitally intimate way such as cannot be predicated of the apostles except ‘through Christ.’ It is ‘the grace of Christ,’ as ‘of God’; not the grace of the apostles, whose it is only ‘by his grace.’

Again we have to note in Christ’s case no trace of that separateness of the human from the Divine Spirit in their communion and inter-operation in the relationship of grace, which is so clear in the case of the apostles, a distinction of which they are so confident that they claim a special illumination and infusion of supernatural light and energy in this experience. Christ’s mediation of grace to them is basic. It differentiates their doctrine not only from Christ’s, but from all ethnic and prophetic ideas. The apostles are neither mere seekers after God, nor simply seers or servants or interpreters of God: they are sons, the bearers of Himself;|[Note: the early Christian term for believers-Χριστοφόροι.]and the immensely richer experience is reflected in the ampler refinement of their idea of grace and its more commanding place in their system. Nor should we fail to observe that the term ‘grace’ denotes a new economy in human history. Primarily it signifies a fresh advance of the human spirit under the impetus of new Divine redemptive force. That fact implies a fresh out-flow of energy from God and a fresh uplift of the world’s life; man is ‘a new creation,’*[Note:  2 Corinthians 5:17,  Galatians 6:15.] the world ‘a new earth’;†[Note:  Revelation 21:1;  Revelation 21:5.] there is revealed a new stage in the fulfilment of the eternal purpose. Grace here has cosmic significance. Sin is over-ruled for good in the whole world-order as it is in the individual Christian heart. History, like the soul, is transformed through Christ. The initial and controlling causes of that whole vast change are discovered to the primitive Christian perception in a great surprise of God’s forgiveness, pronounced and imparted by Christ, and made effective for regeneration by a force none other than, not inferior to, His Holy Spirit. Thereby a new era is inaugurated-the dispensation of ‘the gospel of the grace of God.’‡[Note:  Acts 20:24.] Grace, then, comprises three specific moments: a supernatural energy of God, a mystical and moral actuation of man, an immanent economy of Spirit.

( c ) Essential characteristics .-Grace, accordingly, is erroneously regarded when defined as a substance or force or any sort of static and uniform quantum. It is ‘spirit and life,’ and as such its characteristics are personality, mutuality, individuality . The experience of grace is that of ‘a gracious relationship’§[Note: art. ‘Personality and Grace,’ v., by J. Oman in Expositor, 8th ser. iii. [1912] 468 ff.] between two persons, in which the proper nature of either in its integrity and autonomy is never at all invaded. The mode is not impersonal or mechanical. The blessing is not an influx so much as response to an influence; a gift yet a task; a mysterious might overpowering, but not with power, rather with persuasion; the renewal of the entire disposition through implicit trust in God’s goodness and by the diligent exercise of the powers of Spirit, ever latent and now let loose, with which He enables and quickens. It is not only an awakening of the moral self into more active freedom: it is first the conscious springing up and growth of a new life, sudden or gradual and wondrous, from immersion in the mystic bath,||[Note: | Cf. St. Paul’s ‘baptism with Christ’ ( Romans 6:4,  Colossians 2:12). Cf. for the idea, art. ‘St. Paul and the Mystery-Religions,’ III., by H. A. A. Kennedy, in Expositor, 8th ser. iv. [1912] 60 ff.] fed by the heavenly streams, whose cleansing power, if before unknown, is not alien, and invests the finite life with the sense of infinite worth and imperishable interest-a sense welcomed as native and as needful for the life’s predestined end. The process is easily intelligible, yet readily liable to misunderstanding. The traditional doctrine, Catholic and Protestant, in its anxiety to safeguard both the mystical and moral constituents of the experience, has tended towards two grave defects-the separation of the two which in reality are one, and the confusion of the mystical with the magical.¶[Note: This criticism does not apply to mystical piety or evangelical.]Grace then becomes a material quantity, instead of spiritual quality. Psychologically a person is only insomuch as he is living, growing. Man is, as he lives in God; and his capture**[Note: * It is a seizing by God as well as a yielding by man, ‘apprehension’ on both sides ( Philippians 3:12).]and surrender are achieved not in a thing but in a person, and not to a thing but to the One Person, whose right to claim him and renew his life consists precisely in this, that He is Himself absolutely, infinitely, and actually what man is derivatively, finitely, and potentially. Thus the act which binds man to God does so for growth and enhancement of life. All that comes from the living God is worked out by living souls, and is ever living and enlivening; it is as varied and individual as the variety of individuals concerned.

The apostles were Hebraic, and no true Hebrew could misinterpret this. To the Fathers it was so familiar. The covenant-relation was the central truth of their religion. Its very essence was this mutualness of religious communion. Vital godliness hinged on two realities-the Divine Being willing to be gracious, and the no less ready response man must make to Him. For God and man to come together, both must be individually active. To God’s willingness to help, man comes with his willingness to be helped. To God’s desire to forgive, man comes with a penitent mind. By mutual love, the love of God to man meeting the love of man to God, the two are reconciled. Complete surrender (religion) brings with it growing individuality and independence (morality). Herein, further, let us note, rests the explanation of two conspicuous facts in the life of grace-the fact, viz., that the inspiration of grace is neither infallible nor irresistible  ;*[Note: See art. Perseverance.]and the fact of the splendid out-burst of fresh forms of goodness . The Church in her materialistic moods has been prone to forget both. The Apostolic Age is so rich spiritually just because so sensible of both. ‘We have this treasure in earthen vessels’ is the precise counterpart of the psalmist’s ‘the spirit of man is the candle of the Lord.’ It is never forgotten that while the Divine Life is the milieu of the human, the human is the medium of the Divine, its assimilative capacity adequate only to the present need, not to the ultimate reality;†[Note: a sermon by Phillips Brooks, The Candle of the Lord’ (The Candle of the Lord and Other Sermons, 1881).]while its readiness to receive is never in vain in any event or circumstance or relation of life. The human spirit may appropriate only within limits; but the indefinite variety of limits alone bounds the operation of grace. Grace is all-sufficient; the ‘fruits of the Spirit’ correspond to its plenitude.

2. Specific redemptive content .-In seeking to analyze the contents of grace, we have no lack of material. What grace is to be seen in the spiritual personality it produces. The Apostolic Letters furnish a complete, typical description, of rare intensity and lucidity, of two such personalities of the loftiest order-St. Paul and St. John, and we possess abundant parallel records of Christian sanctity of every later age, to verify our conclusions. The letters are not so much doctrinal systems as a sort of journal intime of soaring, searching spirits: autobiographies of spirit, ‘confessions’ of what the writers saw and heard and knew of ‘the mystery of Christ.’‡[Note: The recent extensive literature devoted to the study of the apostles’ teaching has for main result to cast into bolder relief the splendid spiritual stature of, next to Christ, the two great figures, St. Paul and St. John.]As Christ ‘witnessed’ of Himself, the apostles ‘witness’ of Christ. Their witness is offered in two distinct types-the predominantly ethical and the predominantly contemplative-neither of which has ever failed to recur constantly in subsequent history. It may therefore be taken as comprehensive and normative. It is, moreover, offered with a minimum reference to the material through which it has operated-the psycho-physical organism and temperament in which the gracious working has developed itself.§[Note: Hints occur in St. Paul’s writings ( Romans 7:24;  Romans 12:1,  1 Corinthians 9:27,  2 Corinthians 13:7;  2 Corinthians 13:3;  2 Corinthians 12:2).] The scaffolding has been taken down, and the building is disclosed unencumbered with immaterial detail. From that fact we may trust in the apostles,’ balance of mind and credibility, since the very richness of their spiritual vision points to an unusually large Subconscious life of ‘the natural man’ and its insurgent impulses, not easy to subdue, yet which, instead of dominating, is so exquisitely kept in place as to become a chief instrument and material of their life’s worth and works. Regarding our data in this light, what do we find?-At once a continuity of experience and an identity of essential fact.

( a ) Supernatural principle of life .-To begin with, we find the life of grace to be constituted by the supernatural principle, and to be an indivisible entity. The life of the believer is by a new birth from above,*[Note:  John 1:13;  John 3:3,  2 Corinthians 5:17,  Galatians 6:15,  James 1:18;  1 Peter 1:23,  1 John 3:9.] translating men into a new position before God and a new disposition to sustain it.†[Note:  John 14:6,  Romans 5:2,  Ephesians 2:5;  Ephesians 2:10;  Ephesians 2:18;  Ephesians 3:12,  Philippians 3:20,  Titus 3:5-6,  Hebrews 7:19;  Hebrews 10:19-20.] That is the consentient testimony of the apostles, as of the saints, of the first and of every age.‡[Note: for the typical instance mediaeval piety-St. Catherine of Genoa-the remarkable delineation in F. von Hügel’s Mystical Element of Religion, 1908: also Luther, Bunyan, etc.; and for Reformation examples, the life story of Luther. See also ‘Studies in Conversion’, by J, Stalker, in Expositor. 7th ser. vii. [1909] 118, 322, 521.] Grace is initially regeneration, the work of God’s Spirit, ‘whereby we are renewed in the whole man and are enabled more and more to die daily unto sin and to live unto righteousness.’§[Note: Shorter Catechism; cf.  Romans 12:2,  2 Corinthians 4:18,  Ephesians 4:23,  Colossians 3:10.] Apostolic and saintly biography shows that this condition may have different levels and values in different natures, and even in the same nature at different times. It shows also that the maintenance of that condition means a constant and immense effort, a practically unbroken grace-getting and ever-growing purity in conflict with the insistent lower self. But the characteristic general fact of renewal remains, as something constant and inalienable-in its inferior planes as a fight against the devil; in its higher, a struggle with lower self, stimulated and impelled by God’s illumination working in and upon the soul: constant and inalienable so long as the soul keeps turning towards the Light. For the grace of conversion||[Note: | It belongs to the life of ‘perseverance.’]is the concomitant of regeneration. Conversion is an act of the soul made possible by the Spirit, and should be as continuous as an act as regeneration is as a work.¶[Note:  John 6:44,  Acts 2:38;  Acts 3:19;  Acts 3:26;  Acts 3:9;  Acts 11:21;  Acts 17:30;  Acts 26:18,  1 Thessalonians 1:9,  James 4:3.] This experience, which on one side is regeneration and on the other is conversion, is one which leaves the soul different for ever from what it was before; yet not in such wise as to prevent the soul itself living on, or as to raise the soul above its limitations and failings, so that it will not fall from grace, and will be kept from sin. But the endeavour to keep from fall and lapse is now on a larger and deeper scale, on a higher plane, on a new vantage-ground. It is always attended by the clear consciousness of the effort being ‘in God,’ ‘in Christ,’ and as wholly their work as the soul’s.

This double consciousness of Divine and human action, nevertheless, does not divide the soul. On the contrary, the more deeply it proceeds, the more does the soul wake up and fuse itself into single vital volition to cast off what is inconsistent with its growing self and to mould what remains into better consistency. The soul as the subject of grace is not an automaton but a person, and the two actions are but two moments of one motion whose activities are not juxtaposed but interpenetrate in an organic unity.**[Note: * Cf.  1 Corinthians 15:10,  2 Corinthians 3:5;  2 Corinthians 12:1-12,  Ephesians 3:7;  Ephesians 3:20,  Philippians 2:12-13.] Spirit and spirit can be each within the other††[Note: † Cf.  Romans 8:9.] -a favourite idea of the apostles.‡‡[Note: ‡ Cf.  Romans 6:3;  Romans 8:1;  Romans 8:9-11;  Romans 14:8,  1 Corinthians 10:3-4;  1 Corinthians 15:31,  2 Corinthians 4:10-11;  2 Corinthians 13:5;  Galatians 3:27,  Philippians 1:21.] In St. John the same thought is ever present under the categories of life, light, knowledge, love.§§[Note: §  John 4:14;  John 5:21-29;  John 6:35;  John 6:40;  John 6:44;  John 10:10;  John 12:50;  John 14:10;  John 15:1;  John 15:5;  John 17:3;  John 17:23,  1 John 4:10;  1 John 4:19.] All here comes from, and leads to, a life lived within the conditions of our own existence in willed touch and deliberate union with God.

( b ) Blessings of Christ’s work and Person .-Next we find the life of grace to be a progressive process of moral purification and mental enlightenment in mystical union with Christ. It is a growth in grace and in the knowledge of Christ,*[Note:  2 Peter 3:18.]in the grace and truth’ that are come by Jesus Christ.†[Note:  John 1:17.] St. Paul dwells on this grace as ‘righteousness,’‡[Note:  1 Corinthians 15:47.] St. John dwells on it as ‘truth’ (light, knowledge);§[Note:  John 1:9;  John 3:19;  John 12:36;  1 John 1:5;  1 John 1:7;  1 John 2:8;  1 John 5:8,  Revelation 22:5;  Revelation 22:8, etc.] never, however, in either case on the one as exclusive or separate from the other. To St. Paul Christ is wisdom as well as righteousness; to St. John He is righteousness as well as truth, although in the former instance the point of emphasis is on righteousness, in the latter on light. For this reason, in the Pauline doctrine the description of the source, sphere, and effects of grace is mainly in juridical terms; in the Johannine, in abstract terms-true to the intellectual influences to which they were subject.||[Note: | We take St. Paul’s mind to be little influenced, the Johannine writings to be much influenced, by Greek thought.]The two accounts necessarily differ, and in important details. The fundamental conceptions are identical. A broad statement of their unity may well precede the elucidation of their divergences. To both types of idea: (1) Christ is not ‘after the flesh,’ but is Spirit or Life.¶[Note:  John 14:6;  John 11:25,  1 Corinthians 15:45;  1 Corinthians 15:47,  2 Corinthians 3:17,  1 John 1:1-3.] i.e. the Risen and Glorified Christ who had met St. Paul on the way to Damascus, converting him; whom St. John saw in the Vision of Patmos for his comfort; ‘the second Adam,’**[Note: *  1 Corinthians 15:45.] ‘the Man, the Lord††[Note: †  Romans 1:17;  Romans 10:4,  1 Corinthians 1:30,  2 Corinthians 5:21,  Philippians 3:9, etc.] from heaven’; ‘the Lord of glory.’‡‡[Note: ‡  1 Corinthians 2:8,  James 2:1.] (2) Righteousness and truth are objective realities as well as subjective qualities, powers of God and qualities in man; the righteousness of God and the sanctity of man-the first creative of the second through faith.§§[Note: §  Acts 3:16.] (3) Christ is the Mediator of righteousness and truth, both of which He is Himself;|| ||[Note: | ||  Romans 5:18,  2 Corinthians 5:21,  Philippians 1:11,  2 Peter 1:1,  1 John 2:27;  1 John 5:20.] in virtue of which it is said that ‘the grace of God’ is the ‘grace of Christ,’¶¶[Note: ¶ Christ is its bearer and bringer, having the pleroma; see esp. Colossians 1.]and the life of grace is ‘life in him’ or ‘life in the Spirit.’***[Note: ** The Spirit of grace.](4) This Spirit creates or awakes Spirit (πνεῦμα) in man through the infusion of its supernatural principle in the gift of righteousness and knowledge (= Spirit), so that men are partakers of these as they are in God, in the measure of men.†††[Note: ††  John 3:7;  John 5:20;  Romans 1:17;  Romans 5:17;  Romans 3:22,  2 Corinthians 5:21,  Philippians 3:9.] The Apostle finds the possibility, on man’s side, of this infusion, in the nature of the human πνεῦμα,‡‡‡[Note: ‡‡ The Pauline anthropology is an intricate subject. For a remarkably interesting and clear statement see H. Wheeler Robinson, Christian Doctrine of Man, 1911, pp. 104-138, St. Paul teaches that in the natural πνεῦμα of man lies the ground of affinity with the Divine πνεῦμα.]which then becomes the temple of the indwelling Divine πνεῦμα, and from which as basis proceeds the sanctification of the whole nature. (5) The righteousness and truth (which are Spirit, and Christ), mediated to faith, are mediated by the human life and historic work of Christ: in the Pauline statement, with special relation to His Death and Resurrection; in the Johannine, with reference to the issues for character which His Coming reveals and makes acute. According to the former, the sacrifice of Christ is deliverance from the curse that rests on sin and the alienation from God. By His Resurrection Christ so completely takes possession of the believer’s heart that he feels his life is not so much his own as that of Christ in him-the indwelling Spirit. According to the latter, the eternal life of the pre-existent Logos, manifested in Christ’s historical Person, is in believing experience incorporated through the mystical fellowship*[Note: the discourses in the Upper Room, Parable of the Vine, etc.]of believers with Christ, who are translated from darkness into light, from death to life, from sin and unrighteousness to love.†[Note: John’s three great antitheses.](6) In the Epistle to the Hebrews (of the Pauline type) the life of grace is seen at work in Christ’s Personal Life, making it clear that the faith in Him that is receptive of grace is the faith of Him; so that what He did and won for men He did and won for Himself as a work of spiritual and moral power exerted in Him, and not simply upon Him. ‘The grace-enabling faith and the faith enabled by grace to overcome sin and destroy death, the Divine and human conspiring to produce and constitute the new righteousness of God in man and man in God, were so met in Jesus that He Himself was the revelation because He was the thing revealed.’‡[Note: P. DuBose, The Gospel according to Saint Paul, 1907, pp. 85-86.](7) The appearance of this Life and its blessings of grace are traced to the spontaneous and unmerited beneficence and initiative of God,§[Note:  John 1:12;  John 6:37;  John 6:40;  Romans 5:8;  Romans 5:10,  Ephesians 1:4;  Ephesians 2:8,  Colossians 1:6,  1 John 3:16;  1 John 4:10.] who in Christ deals with sinful mankind not on the ground of merit or after the mode of Law, as though they were servants or subjects, but solely from His own natural instinct of Holy Love, as a father towards his sons. Hence the gracious will of God is distinctive in the incomparable fullness and excellency of the motives which it comprehends.||[Note: |  2 Corinthians 9:8,  Philippians 4:19,  1 Peter 4:10,  1 John 3:1.] (8) Divine grace consequently underlies every part of the redemptive process, in an imposing array of objective forces.¶[Note:  Romans 8:30.] What are its parts? Here the schemes of saving grace in the two types widely diverge in their most conspicuous features. St. Paul conceives of the subject of grace thus-the sinner is a criminal whom the Righteous Judge will of His clemency save; and his thought moves in a circle of juristic terms, St. John’s conception, on the other hand, is of the world (=human life) as marred by sin in opposition to God, and his notion moves in a series of antitheses reconciled finally by the manifestation of that pre-existent Logos who is the world’s fundamental principle. Under these leading concepts let us classify the respective terms.

(α) The Pauline scheme .-‘Justification’ is the point of stress in the Pauline list, and with it go ‘redemption’ and ‘righteousness’; ‘adoption’ and ‘reconciliation’ go together; sanctification is their result. The source of the whole is in the Divine predestination, and the goal is man’s glorification. The briefest definitions must suffice. Predestination determines on God’s part His purpose of grace. Election expresses the soul’s experience and certainty of saving grace. Justification is the grace which acquits and accepts the sinner as righteous. By justification the redemption purchased by Christ is made effective. Adoption is the grace that removes the obstacles debarring the sinner from fellowship with God, and inspires him with filial trust, freedom, and inheritance. By adoption reconciliation with God is made effective. Sanctification is the issue of these already mentioned in the renewal of the whole man-spirit, soul, body-a renewal leading eventually to resurrection, life, glory. Though the parts may thus be separated in thought, it is to be remembered that they are inseparable in the actual process. The prescience and prevenience of God are not otiose; they are the active origin and basal ground of man’s salvation. Justification in its attitude of faith implies the implicit energy of sanctification. Sanctification is but a ‘continuous justification.’*[Note: The phrase is Flint’s, in Sermons and Addresses. 1899, p. 230-Christ our Righteousness. It is a merit of Ritschl to have broken down the distinction between justification and sanctification. Cf. his chief work, Rechtfertigung und Versöhnung4, 1900.]Imputed righteousness is vital and is imparted. The ‘peace with God’ which these secure is, through a real remission of sins and rescue from God’s wrath, fitted to partake in the ineffable nature of the Spirit of righteousness and truth, who effects salvation, and the bliss of the Eternal Life, of which it is the foretaste and first-fruit.†[Note:  Romans 5:1.]

St. Paul gives two ‘sums’ of grace, the one in  1 Corinthians 1:30, the other in  Romans 8:30, to which elsewhere are added ‘adoption’ and ‘reconciliation’ ( Galatians 4:5;  Galatians 4:7,  Romans 5:11,  2 Corinthians 5:19). We may tabulate thus:


Predestination and Election.












Resurrection and Glory.

(β) The Johannine scheme .-Eternal Life is the point of stress in the Johannine scheme. It works itself out in a series of three antitheses subsumed under the general and inclusive one of God versus the world, viz. light v . darkness, life v . death, love v . sin=unrighteousness. God and Christ, working in the Pauline scheme as righteousness and wisdom, work here as light, life, love, driving away darkness, death, sin; restoring life to its full completion by this self-revelation of the Divine Life which is at the same time the principle of the world’s real life (Logos). Resurrection here is just fullness of life, the perfection of personality, which we see in Christ (historic), who is the Resurrection and Life, and who communicates it to believers, with self-evidencing force, in the life of love. This new life is attained from the new birth in an experienced succession‡[Note: W. R. Inge, art. ‘John, Gospel of,’ in DCG i. 885 ff., where, however, the successiveness of the stages is overdrawn, and the equally true simultaneity is obscured.]of ever-deepening intuitions and acts of faith, in a rich immanence of Christ in the believing soul,§[Note: Too narrow a content is at times given to St. John’s ‘knowledge’: it includes not only the mental part, but all the parts of a man’s self.]and of such a soul in Christ, like that of the Father in the Son and the Son in the Father.||[Note: |  John 14:20-21.] We may tabulate thus:

A.Pre-existent Logos and Life.






v .


v .

v .

v .






Incarnate Logos, principle of Resurrection and Life.

The broad result of both descriptions of the life of grace is notable. It vindicates the outstanding fact of the Synoptic pre

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [2]

The word "grace" in biblical parlance can, like forgiveness, repentance, regeneration, and salvation, mean something as broad as describing the whole of God's activity toward man or as narrow as describing one segment of that activity. An accurate, common definition describes grace as the unmerited favor of God toward man. In the Old Testament, the term that most often is translated "grace, " is hen [חֵן]; in the New Testament, it is charis [Χάρις].

The Old Testament . The word hen [חֵן] occurs around sixty times in the Old Testament. There are examples of man's favor to man, but the theological concept of importance to us is the grace of God demonstrated toward man. The term occurs most often in the phrase favor "in your (i.e., God's) sight" or "in the eyes of the Lord." This assumes the notion of God as a watchful master or king, with the one who is finding favor, a servant, an employee, or perhaps a soldier.

The concept first occurs in  Genesis 6:8 . Noah finds "favor in the eyes of the Lord." The context is that the Lord was grieved at "how great man's wickedness on the earth had become" ( Genesis 6:5 ). This statement about the Lord's antipathy toward man is followed by his promise that he will wipe humankind from the face of the earth, that is, completely destroy him, because of his anger at their condition. Noah is then described as having found favor in the eyes of the Lord. The themes of judgment and salvation, in which the vast majority of humankind are condemned to destruction, while God finds favor on a few (Noah and his family), reoccurs often in connection with the idea of grace. Hence, concepts of election, salvation, mercy, and forgiveness are all linked in this first illustration of grace in the Old Testament. Interestingly, the rest of the references to favor in Genesis all describe favor in the eyes of man (e.g., Jacob begging Esau's favor, 32:5; 33:8,10, 15).

Crucial among the Old Testament passages on the unmerited favor of God is the conversation between Moses and God recorded in  Exodus 33 . There, in the space of six verses, Moses is said to have found favor with God five times, hen [חֵן] being translated either "find favor" or "be pleased with." At the beginning of the chapter, Moses goes into the tent of meeting, while the pillar of cloud stands at the entrance to the tent, and the people of Israel stay outside, worshiping (v. 10). The Lord speaks to Moses "face to face, s a man speaks with his friend." In the passage, the conversation between Moses and the Lord has to do specifically with the favor that God shows to Moses, and Moses requests that God demonstrate that favor toward him. Moses begins by reminding God that he has called Moses to lead these people, but that God has not let him know whom he will send with Moses. The statement echoes the original conversation between Moses and God at the burning bush in chapter 3, where God promises to send Aaron with Moses to help him get the people out of Egypt. Here, the Lord promises only that his "Presence" will go with Moses, and that he will give him rest (v. 14). Moses has just stated that he knows God's name (another echo of chap. 3), and that he has found favor with God; he requests that God teach him his ways, so that he may "know you and continue to find favor with you" (v. 13). Moses demonstrates his humble dependence upon the grace of God by affirming that if God's Presence does not go up with them, he does not want to be sent, because he knows they will fail (v. 15). But he asks the reasonable question, "How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us?" (v. 16). God promises to go with him in the next verse because "I am pleased with you and I know you by name" (v. 17).

Moses then makes one of the most remarkable requests of God ever made in Scripture, asking God to "show me your glory." Just as remarkable is that God answers his request positively. He promised to "cause all my goodness to pass in front of you" and that he will proclaim his name "Yahweh" in Moses' presence. He then makes a statement that is connected with grace throughout Scripture, one that Paul will quote in the context of election in  Romans 9 : "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion." This is a remarkable example of the unconditional and full character of the grace of God. God holds very little back, only telling Moses that he "cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live." Even this is an act of unconditional and full grace in that God has withheld from Moses what would destroy him. The passage closes with the strange instruction that God will cause his "glory" to pass by, Moses being hid in a cleft in a rock and covered with the hand of God until the glory has passed by. Then God will remove his hand and allow Moses to see the back of his glory, but not his face. Again, this protective, gracious act of God emphasizes the extent to which God is willing to go with his faithful servant to show his favor toward him.

Moses again speaks of finding favor with the Lord in  Numbers 11:4-17 . When the people of Israel complain at having only manna and not any meat, Moses cries out to the Lord in an apparently sincere state of vexation at the burden of judging this entire people by himself: "I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now—if I have found favor in your eyesand do not let me face my own ruin" (vv. 14-15). Without questioning his integrity or his strength of character, God immediately gives Moses a solution to his problem by appointing seventy of the elders of Israel to help him carry the burden of the people, "so that you will not have to carry it alone" (v. 17).

At the same time, God even answers the question that Moses has not asked: What about meat for the complaining people? God instructs Moses that he will give them meat for the month, though he will give them more meat than they want, as the story makes clear. The fact that the Lord brings judgment upon the people, however, does not vitiate the point of God's favor toward Moses in this passage. He still Acts as a sovereign who gives complete, unmerited favor to his servant.

God's favor sometimes extends to the fact that he will wait upon man as if he were his servant. Gideon, when called by God to lead Israel against Midian, asks God to wait while he goes to get his offering to set before him ( Judges 6:17 ). As with Moses, the statement is in the context of the promise of the Lord to be "with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together" ( Judges 6:16 ). When Gideon actually brings the offering that he has prepared, God shows his grace beyond what Gideon has asked by giving him instructions on where to place it and how to arrange it, then creating a supernatural fire that consumes the meat and the bread. After he disappears, Gideon realizes that he has seen the "angel of the Lord" and, interestingly, makes reference to the fact that he has seen him "face to face, " recalling the passage in Exodus. God shows his grace one more time by assuring Gideon that although he is afraid since he has seen the angel of the Lord face to face, he is not going to die ( Judges 6:23 ).

Samuel, too, finds favor in the eyes of the Lord ( 1 Samuel 2:26 ). Here, the boy Samuel is described as growing in stature and in favor, not only with the Lord, but also with men. This verse is quoted, of course, in the New Testament, using the heavily theologically weighted term charis [   Luke 2:52 ). It is significant because it is a description of the growth of a child in the favor of God. The child cannot earn that favor since he is merely a child. Thus, God's grace toward those whom he loves grows in its extensiveness, as the child grows. This is perhaps no less important because of Samuel's unique relationship to salvation history. He is the last of the judges and is the transitional figure between the period of the judges and the period of the kings in Israel's history, as John the Baptist is in the New Testament between the Old Testament prophets and the New Testament evangelists.

Remarkably, the life of David is devoid of references to finding favor in the eyes of the Lord, though often he finds favor in the eyes of men, or requests such favor ( 1 Samuel 16:22;  20:3,29 , etc. ). One reference, however, is striking, especially in light of the dearth of references elsewhere. As David flees the city of Jerusalem after hearing that Absalom has been crowned king in Hebron, he takes the ark with him. A particularly faithful servant named Ittai, the Gittite, has declared his faithfulness to David, even though David has given him leave to go back and spare himself potential death by association with David. The procession continues into the desert, where it stops so that they can offer sacrifices with the ark in their midst. Then the king tells Zadok the priest to take the ark back into the city because he knows it belongs in the temple of the Lord. In a remarkable display of trust in God and in his sovereignty, David says that if he finds favor in the Lord's eyes, then God will bring him back. But if he does not, then David is ready; as he puts it, "Let him do to me whatever seems good to him" ( 2 Samuel 15:26 ). David recognizes that the unmerited favor of God has to do with God's choice, not his. Grace in the Old Testament is just as much an act of the sovereign will of God as is grace in the New Testament.

The last prominent example of grace in the Old Testament is found in the Book of Esther. Of course, the book does not speak of God's favor at all, but Esther's humility in seeking the favor of the king has always been understood as a pointer toward human responsibility to humbly accept the grace of God. Esther finds favor in the eyes of the king and is rewarded with the freedom of her people (5:1-8; 7:3; 8:5-8).

Only a few references close out the notion of grace in the Old Testament, but they are significant. Ezra in his notable prayer to God when he finds that the people have intermarried with foreigners against God's will ( Ezra 9 ), states that God has been gracious to the people of Israel "for a brief moment, " in doing two things. The first is that he has left the people of Israel a remnant. The remnant is a sign that God's gracious favor bestowed upon Israel in the covenant continues on even in times of great disobedience and/or destruction among the Israelites, though this is the only reference to the remnant in the context in which hen [חֵן] is used in the Old Testament.

God has also given them "a firm place in his sanctuary, and so our God gives light to our eyes and a little relief in our bondage" ( Ezra 9:8 ). Here is a reference to the grace that is shown the people in the giving of the temple and the light that it brings to Israel. But in the context of the Book of Ezra, this may also be a reference to the grace shown by God in giving Israel the Law, since the reading of the Law and the confession of the sin of the people on the basis of that reading is so important to this book.

Another crucial reference is found in  Jeremiah 31 . The famous passage about the new covenant (vv. 31-34) is enough of a statement about the grace of God on its own, but it is linked to the hen [חֵן] of God by the occurrence of that word in 31:2. Introducing the same passage with the phrase "at that time, " an echo of the beginning of the covenant passage in 31:31, God says that "the people who survive the sword will find grace in the desert; I will come to give rest to Israel." Here is a promise of the grace of God given to the people when they are given the new covenant. The new covenant, of course, is a promise that God will be their God, and they will be his people, with the Law written upon their hearts and present in their minds, and the gracious promise that all God's people will know him. From the least of them to the greatest, they will be forgiven their wickedness, and God will remember their sins no more.

The New Testament . Grace in the New Testament is largely encompassed by the use of the word charis [   Matthew 20:1-16 ) and the parable of the great supper ( Luke 14:16-24 ).

While the idea of grace can be said to be largely a Pauline one, there are references to it in John and Luke as well. John describes Jesus as "full of grace and truth" and speaks of his people receiving grace upon grace from the fullness of his grace ( John 1:16 ). In one of the most important theological statements about grace in Scripture, John says that the Law, a good thing, was given through Moses; the better things of grace and truth came through Jesus Christ ( John 1:17 ).

When we turn to the writings of Luke, we find that Jesus is described as having the grace of God upon him ( Luke 2:40 ) and as growing in grace with God and man ( Luke 2:52 ). Many more references to grace are found in the Book of Acts. Luke makes a strong association between grace and power, especially in the early chapters (4:33; 6:8; 11:23). Grace is found without qualifier (18:27) and in the phrases "message of his grace" (14:3), "grace of God" (14:26), "grace of our Lord Jesus" (15:11), "grace of the Lord" (15:40). The distinction between these phrases does not seem acute, and therefore the basic synonymity between them points to an intention on Luke's part to make a statement about the deity of Christ. Again, these phrases often seemed to be linked with the power of God to create spiritual life and to sustain Christians. This grace is, as in the Old Testament passages, an unmerited favor, but now a new aspect of power in the Spirit has been added to it.

The concept of grace is most prominently found in the New Testament in the epistles of Paul. The standard greeting in the Greek ancient world generally involved the verb charein . Paul's greeting, however, was unique, combining the Hebrew greeting, shalom [שָׁלֹום] (eirene in Greek) with the word charis [Χάρις]. This in itself is enough to note that Paul is thinking and not simply reacting as he writes his greeting.

The fact that he sometimes uses grace in his benedictions as well, which clearly are intentional, indicates that his greetings are to be taken with some seriousness. For instance, the benediction in  1 Corinthians 16:23 , coming just after his dramatic plea to the Lord to come, demonstrates a strong belief in the grace of God. In the salutation of the letter (1:3), one gets a greeting that follows on from a strongly worded theological statement about sanctification and calling (1:2) and that leads into a statement about grace in 1:4 demonstrating the theological import Paul intends. A similar seriousness could be argued about the other salutations in Paul's letters.

Overwhelmingly in the letters of Paul God is the subject of grace. He gives it freely and without merit. Hence the many different phrases connected with grace: the grace of God ( Romans 5:15 ), the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ ( 2 Corinthians 13:14 ), and the like. Sometimes this is explicitly stated, as in  Ephesians 4:7 : "to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it."

Interestingly, Paul sometimes mentions the gift of grace from God using alongside it language that speaks of human responsibility. So in  Romans 15:16 , Paul speaks of "the grace God gave me to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, with the priestly duty of proclaiming the gospel of God." Grace, then, is the power with which the human being then performs his or her gifted task. This is even more clearly seen in Paul's self-defense in Galatians. In one of the most truly dialectic passages in Scripture, Paul proclaims that he has died, yet lives, yet not he but Christ lives, yet he lives in the body by faith. He then argues that in living "by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me, " that he is not "setting aside the grace of God" (2:20-21). Only an argument that Paul was too dependent upon works in his life would create the argument that he was not setting aside the grace of God in his understanding of the sanctified Christian life.

Grace can be such a forceful thought for Paul that he sometimes anthropomorphizes it. Hence, in  1 Corinthians 15:10 , in the midst of an emotional defense of his apostleship despite the fact that he had persecuted the church of God, Paul says that he is what he is by the grace of God. He then goes on to compare himself to others who had worked among the community, the other apostles, and declares that he worked harder than all of them. In order that this statement might not seem boastful, Paul follows it up by saying "yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me." Though this grace is said to be God's grace, it nevertheless is said to be "with him, " and working harder than the other apostles, and is tantamount to equating the grace of God with the Holy Spirit.

In  Ephesians 1:6 Paul speaks of the "glorious grace" of God, which should garner our praise. Of course, once again, Paul is not expecting us to praise an abstract comment, but he is thinking of the grace of God working so mightily in his life that it becomes a metonymy for God. The highly rhetorical character of the passage in which this verse is found (1:3-14) helps explain the power of this statement. The point is that Paul was so saturated with the notion of grace in his writing that he thought of it as an essential, if not the essential attribute of God.

Grace is most often associated in Paul with other terms having to do with salvation. We see it related to election ( Ephesians 1:3-6 ), to the gospel (2Col 4:15;  Colossians 1:5-6 ), explicitly to justification (Romans passim, esp. 3:23-26;  Ephesians 2:8-9 ), and most often to sanctification ( Romans 5:2,21;  6:1,14 ,  15; 2Col 12:9;  Ephesians 2:10;  Titus 2:11-14 ). It is even used with the human subject in speaking of the collection for Jerusalem as a work of grace.

In connecting grace to election Paul sees God as electing us before the creation of the world for the purpose of holiness and blamelessness ( Ephesians 1:4 ). He predestined us to be adopted as sons into the family of God ( Ephesians 1:5 ). All of this elective work is so that we might "praise his glorious grace." In other words, election and grace go hand in hand because of their free character. We can do nothing to deserve them.

This is the essential connection also with the gospel. In one of Paul's passages about the suffering that a minister of Christ undergoes, he speaks of faith and continuing in ministry "because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence" ( 2 Corinthians 4:14 ). Paul sees this as the benefit of not only the Corinthians but also all who receive his ministry, so that "the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart" (vv. 15-16). Grace thus renews Paul's inward spirit and assures him of glory in the afterlife (vv. 16-17). Hence, Paul's ministry is not one that he always does joyfully or motivated by his own power, but rather motivated by faith that God is working in the present and will reward him in the eschaton.

In the same way, he links the grace of God with the gospel in  Colossians 1:5-6 . The word of truth, the gospel, is bearing fruit and growing at the present time "just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God's grace in all its truth" (v. 6). The parallel descriptions of "gospel" and "grace" as "truth" link the two as synonyms in the passage. This grace is therefore the "hope that is stored up for [them] in heaven" (v. 5), presumably something God is doing in heaven for them, and hence free from merit.

Perhaps the most dominant metaphor with which grace is associated is the legal metaphor of justification. We see the two linked in two very important passages in which grace is used in Paul.  Romans 3:23-24 states quite clearly that all have fallen short of the glory of God and are "justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." Here, while the language of the slave market may be implied in the use of the word "redemption, " and that of the cultus in the use of the phrase "sacrifice of atonement" in the next verse, the strongest linking with grace in this passage is with the word "justified" in verse 24. Hence the unmerited favor of God buys us legal freedom from our sin and cancels the sentence of guilt the judge has had to declare in order "to be just and the one who justified those who have faith in Jesus" (v. 26). It is interesting to note that the next thought of Paul is: "where, then, is boasting? It is excluded" (v. 27), again emphasizing that grace is free and not the work of man.

In  Ephesians 2:8-9 Paul states the free character of grace perhaps even more explicitly, now not using the language of justification but simply of salvation. We are told that we have been saved "by grace" but "through faith." Grace is seen here as the means by which we are saved, a free gift; faith is seen as the mechanism by which that salvation or grace is appropriated. Paul must then go on to argue that even faith is "not by works so that no one can boast" (v. 9).

This does not mean that Paul keeps grace separate from works in sanctification, for he goes right on to speak of us being God's workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works (v. 10). Similarly, grace is seen as being in the midst of our present Christian life. In  Romans 5:2 Paul speaks of gaining "access by faith into this grace in which we now stand" and in 5:21 of grace reigning "through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." While all of this is in the context of the grace of God as a gift versus the Law of God as a work, nevertheless grace is viewed as reigning even as we live the life we are supposed to live in Christ. Hence the argument of   Romans 6 that we are not to go on sinning so that grace may increase, but we are to "count [ourselves] dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus for sin shall not be [our] master, because [we] are not under law, but under grace" (vv. 11-14). The key metaphor used in this chapter to describe this "work" of sanctification is "offer." Hence we are not to "offer the parts of [our] body to sin as instruments of wickedness, " but rather offer ourselves to God, "as those who have been brought from death to life" (v. 13). This is done as slaves, offering ourselves in obedience to him (v. 16).

Even the suffering of the present Christian life is linked to the grace that God gives us. In Paul's famous statement about the thorn in his flesh ( 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 ), he speaks of asking three times that this thorn be taken from him, only to receive the answer "my grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Here grace is equated with the power to live the Christian life and to do ministry in the name of Christ. So Paul delights even in the hardships of that ministry. In a similar way, the whole of the Christian life is linked to grace in  Titus 2:11-14 . This grace "teaches us to say No' to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope." Here we see both the ethic of the Christian life (saying no and living uprightly) and the thought of the Christian life (the blessed hope) combined under the reign of grace.

Finally, grace is associated strongly with the gifts of the Spirit. This is true of the list of gifts in  Ephesians 4:3-11 corporately to the church and the gifts given to individuals within the church for its edification (  Romans 12:4-8;  1 Corinthians 12 ). In all of the work of grace about which Paul speaks, the Spirit has been implicit if not directly explicit. Hence, even though grace is not specifically mentioned in  1 Corinthians 12 , we find that the Spirit gives to each one a gift "as he determines" (v. 11). The simple mention of these attributes as "gifts" throughout the chapter implies that they are a work of grace as well, but the connection with grace is explicit in the parallel passage of  Romans 12:3-8 . Here Paul states we have different gifts "according to the grace given us" (v. 6), and he has opened the passage by proclaiming that the source of his statement about thinking of others more than you think of yourself by saying that it comes through grace (v. 3). The somewhat different list in  Ephesians 4 is similarly controlled by the notion of grace. Paul states in verse 7 "to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it." As he then describes this grace that has been given, it comes in the form of apostles, evangelists, and pastors/teachers in order "to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up" (v. 11).

The notion of grace as connected to the Spirit of God is continued by the author of Hebrews in such a way that even mentions "the Spirit of grace" (10:29). Hebrews also emphasizes the connection of grace to salvation (2:9), sanctification (4:16; 12:15; 13:9), and the final blessing of God (13:25).

The other literature in the New Testament also emphasizes the free character of grace. The one reference in James links it to God's gift (4:6). Peter, who also includes it in his greeting, quotes the same Old Testament verse as James ( 1 Peter 5:5 ) and speaks of us as stewards of the grace of God (4:10). Peter also closes his second epistle with a benediction in joining us to "grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." The Book of Revelation also begins with a salutation and closes with a benediction that includes grace (1:4; 22:21), the only two references to grace in the entire book.

Andrew H. Trotter, Jr.

See also Favor; Paul The Apostle

Bibliography . H. Conzelman, TDNT, 9:359-415; H.-H. Esser, NIDNTT, 2:115-24; A. B. Luter, Jr., DPL, pp. 372-74; J. Moffatt, Grace in the New Testament  ; C. R. Smith, The Bible Doctrine of Grace  ; J. H. Stringer, NBD, pp. 442-44.

Holman Bible Dictionary [3]

charis charis charis

Grace in the Old Testament No one word in the Hebrew Old Testament is equivalent to the New Testament use of charis for God's unmerited gift of salvation. The translators of the Greek Old Testament characteristically translated the Hebrew word chanan/chen as charis , and the King James Version likewise often translates this as “grace” or “favor” or “mercy.” The Hebrew verb chanan occurs some 56 times in the Old Testament and refers to the kind turning of one person to another in an act of assistance, such as aid to the poor (  Proverbs 14:31 ). In the Psalms it is frequently used to call upon the gracious assistance of God in times of need ( Psalm 4:1;  Psalm 6:2;  Psalm 25:16;  Psalm 31:9;  Psalm 86:3;  Psalm 86:16;  Psalm 123:3 ). In other instances God is said to make one attractive or favorable in the eyes of another ( Genesis 39:21;  Exodus 3:21;  Exodus 11:3;  Exodus 12:36 ). It is the latter meaning of “favor” which the noun chen especially conveys. Of its 70 occurrences in the Old Testament, 43 are in the stereotyped expression “to find favor/grace in the eyes/sight of another.” Most commonly this expression refers to persons seeking or obtaining the favor of another (Jacob from Esau—  Genesis 32:5;  Genesis 33:8; Joseph from Potiphar— Genesis 39:14; Ruth from Boaz— Ruth 2:2 ,Ruth 2:2, 2:10; Esther from Ahasuerus— Esther 2:17 ). More rarely it refers to a person receiving God's special favor (Noah— Genesis 6:8; Moses— Exodus 33:12-19; Gideon— Judges 6:17 ). In none of these instances, however, is there any emphasis on the recipient's lack of merit as in the New Testament concept of “grace.” Closest to this idea are the few passages in the prophets which refer to God's gracious favor to Israel in delivering her from captivity and restoring the nation ( Jeremiah 31:2;  Zechariah 4:7;  Zechariah 12:10 ).

Other Hebrew words convey the idea of God's grace, such as racham/rachamim (“mercy”) and chesed (“steadfast covenant love”). These words are often combined with chen to refer to the one merciful, loving, gracious God (  Exodus 34:6;  Nehemiah 9:17;  Psalm 86:15;  Psalm 103:8;  Psalm 145:8;  Joel 2:13;  Jonah 4:2 ). Together they convey something of the New Testament sense of God's grace, but even then they lack the sense of this being an unmerited favor of God. To be sure, the idea that Israel did not deserve God's mercy and love is found in the Old Testament ( Deuteronomy 7:7-10;  Deuteronomy 9:4-6 ). God promised David that He would not remove His love from David's successor, even though the successor sinned ( 2 Samuel 7:14-16 ). The entire Book of Jonah deals with God's merciful concern to save the wicked Ninevites, and Hosea powerfully conveys God's undeserved mercy and grace with the image of the prophet's love for the faithless Gomer. God's grace shines forth clearly in the Exodus, where God delivered an undeserving people before they entered into His covenant. Still, it remained for the New Testament writers to catch the full vision of God grace in the light of Jesus Christ.

Grace in the New Testament We owe our distinctly Christian understanding of grace to the apostle Paul. The Pauline epistles employ the word charis and its related forms twice as frequently as the rest of the New Testament writings combined. Paul sometimes employed the word with its more secular meanings. He urged his readers to make their speech “gracious” or “attractive” (  Colossians 4:6;  Ephesians 4:29 ), and referred to his visit to Corinth as a “grace” which would bring them pleasure ( 2 Corinthians 1:15 NAS text note). The idea of gift also appears, especially in reference to his collection for the Jerusalem saints (  1 Corinthians 16:3; 2Corinthians 8:1,2Corinthians 8:4,2Corinthians 8:6-7, 2 Corinthians 8:19 ). Often he used charis to mean thanks, as in the thanksgiving over a meal ( 1 Corinthians 10:30 ) or in songs of praise ( Colossians 3:16 ). Frequently he employed the set expression “Thanks” (“ charis be to God” (  Romans 6:17 ,  Romans 7:25;  1 Corinthians 15:57;  2 Corinthians 2:14;  2 Corinthians 8:16;  2 Corinthians 9:15;  1 Timothy 1:12;  2 Timothy 1:3 ). One wonders if for Paul this common Greek idiom did not carry a deeper nuance. It was precisely his experience of God's grace that led to his profound sense of thanksgiving.

Paul's sense of God's grace owed much to his experience of being turned from the persecutor of the church to Christ's missionary to the Gentiles ( 1 Corinthians 15:9-10;  1 Timothy 1:12-14 ). So convinced was he that this was all God's doing and not of his own merit that he could describe his apostolic calling as coming even before his birth ( Galatians 1:15 ). He was an apostle solely because of God's grace ( Romans 1:5 ), and his entire ministry and teaching were due to that divine grace ( Romans 12:3;  Romans 15:15;  1 Corinthians 3:10;  2 Corinthians 1:12;  Galatians 2:9;  Ephesians 3:2 ,Ephesians 3:2, 3:7-8 ).

Paul had too profound a sense of human sin to believe that a person could ever earn God's acceptance ( Romans 3:23 ). As a Pharisee, he had sought to do that by fulfilling the divine law. Now he had come to see that it was not a matter of earning God's acceptance but rather of coming to accept God's acceptance of him through Jesus Christ. So, he came to see a sharp antithesis between law and grace. Law is the way of self-help, of earning one's own salvation. Grace is God's way of salvation, totally unearned ( Romans 3:24;  Romans 4:4;  Romans 11:6;  Ephesians 2:8 ). Grace is appropriated by faith in what God has done in Christ ( Romans 4:16 ). God's grace comes to sinners, not to those who merit God's acceptance ( Romans 5:20-21 ). It is through Christ's atoning work on the cross that God's grace comes to us, setting us free from the bondage of sin ( Romans 3:24-31 ). Christ is the Representative who breaks the reign of sin and brings life and acceptance with God through divine grace ( Romans 5:15 ,  Romans 5:17 ). God's grace is so bound up with Christ that Paul could speak of the “grace of our Lord Jesus Christ” ( 2 Corinthians 8:9;  2 Timothy 2:1 ). It was in the beloved Son that God's grace came supremely to mankind ( 1 Corinthians 1:4;  Ephesians 1:6-7; compare  2 Timothy 1:9 ). For Paul, grace is practically synonymous with the gospel. Grace brings salvation ( Ephesians 2:5 ,  Ephesians 2:8 ). Grace brings eternal life ( Romans 5:21;  Titus 3:7 ). To share in the gospel is to be a partaker of grace ( Philippians 1:7;  Colossians 1:6 ). In Christ Jesus, God's grace is open to all people ( Titus 2:11; compare  2 Corinthians 4:15 ); but the experience of God's grace is conditional upon human response. It can be rejected or accepted ( 2 Corinthians 6:1;  Galatians 1:6;  Galatians 5:4 ).

From the human perspective, the divine grace is a power which undergirds the present life. God's grace abides in us (  2 Corinthians 9:14 ); we stand in it ( Romans 5:2 ). Our calling, our witness, our works are all based on the power of God's grace in our lives ( 2 Thessalonians 1:11-12 ). Paul sharply rejected any antinomian perversion of the gospel which failed to recognize that the true experience of God's grace changes one's life in the direction of righteousness ( Romans 6:1 ,Romans 6:1, 6:14-15 ). Grace never gives freedom to sin. His own experience had shown him a new power of the divine grace active in his ministry in spite of his human weakness ( 2 Corinthians 12:9 ). In fact, all who experience God's grace have gifts of that grace for ministry and service ( Romans 12:6;  Ephesians 4:7 ). So pervasive was Paul's sense of God's grace that he always referred to it in the opening or closing of his letters. His usual salutation includes a wish for “grace” and “peace” upon his readers ( Romans 1:7;  1 Corinthians 1:3 ). Here Paul played upon the normal word of salutation in Greek letters ( chairein -joy). Charis has a similar sound, but a world of difference. For the Christian, a reminder of God's grace in their lives is the richest word of greeting and the fullest source of joy.

Surprisingly the word “grace” does not occur in Matthew or Mark. The concept is there, in Jesus' ministry to sinners and outcasts, in His healing ministry, and in such teachings as the parable of the laborers in the vineyard ( Matthew 20:1-8 ). Luke, however, made extensive use of charis in both his writings. Sometimes he used it with basically secular meanings, such as “credit, benefit” ( Luke 6:32-34 NAS), as “thanks” (  Luke 17:9 ), or as attractiveness in speech ( Luke 4:22 ). The familiar Old Testament idea of “favor” appears a number of times, sometimes referring to the favor of one human to another ( Acts 2:47;  Acts 7:10;  Acts 24:27;  Acts 25:3 ,Acts 25:3, 25:9;  Luke 2:52 ), sometimes to God's favor bestowed on individuals ( Luke 1:28 ,Luke 1:28, 1:30;  Luke 2:40;  Acts 7:46 ). Reminiscent of Paul are the references in Acts which refer to salvation or t the gospel as “grace” ( Acts 11:23;  Acts 13:43;  Acts 18:27;  Acts 20:24 ,Acts 20:24, 20:32 ). Particularly Pauline is the reference to salvation through the grace of the Lord Jesus in  Acts 15:11 . Also like Paul are those places where grace is described as an enabling power in the ministries of various Christians ( Acts 4:33;  Acts 6:8 NAS;   Acts 14:26;  Acts 15:40 ).

Grace only occurs three times in John's Gospel, all in the prologue ( Acts 1:1 ), and all in a sense reminiscent of Paul. Grace is equated with truth ( Acts 1:14 ), its gift nature is emphasized ( Acts 1:16 ), and it is set in antithesis to the law of Moses ( Acts 1:17 ). In the remainder of the Johannine corpus, grace occurs only three times, all in benedictions ( 2 John 1:3;  Revelation 1:4;  Revelation 22:21 ). In the Johannine writings the idea of God's unmerited gift in Christ is very present, but conveyed by a different word— agape (love).

References to grace in the other New Testament writings do not extend beyond the meanings found in the Pauline epistles and Luke-Acts. Secular meanings of charis occur, such as “gratitude” ( Hebrews 12:28 ) and “credit” ( 1 Peter 2:19-20 NAS). Grace is connected with God's mercy (  Hebrews 4:16 ) and with the atoning death of Christ ( Hebrews 2:9 ). It is virtually equated with the gospel ( 1 Peter 5:10 ) and with salvation (1Peter 1:10, 1 Peter 1:13 ). It is seen as a power which strengthens life ( Hebrews 13:9 ), undergirds those who are persecuted ( 1 Peter 5:10 ), and grants gifts for Christian service ( 1 Peter 4:10 ). God's grace can be spurned ( Hebrews 10:29;  Hebrews 12:14-15 ) or turned into a perverted gospel promising freedom from the law and thus freedom to sin without judgment ( Jude 1:4 ). Above all, grace is the hallmark of the Christian experience and thus a frequent component in benedictions ( Hebrews 13:25;  1 Peter 1:2;  2 Peter 1:2 ). See Mercy; Love; Justification .

John Polhill

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [4]

Grace (from Lat. gratia [= favour , either received from or shown to another], through the Fr. grace ). Of the three meanings assigned to this word in the Eng. Dict . (1) ‘pleasingness,’ (2) ‘favour,’ (3) ‘thanks’ (the sense of favour received) (1) and (2) belong to the Eng. Bible; (3) attaches to the equivalent Gr. charis , where it is rendered ‘thank(s)’ or ‘thankfulness’ (  Hebrews 12:28 RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] .). The specific Biblical use of ‘grace’ comes under the second of the above significations; it is prominent in the NT. The OT usage requires no separate treatment. (2) is the primary meaning of the Hebrew original, rendered ‘favour’ almost as often as ‘grace’; but (1) of the Greek charis , which at its root signified the gladdening, joy-bringing . Hence the correspondence between the common Greek salutation chaire ( te ) or chairein (‘Joy to you!’) and the Christian charis (‘Grace to you!’) is more than a verbal coincidence.

1. Of the sense charm, winsomeness (of person, bearing, speech, etc.) a usage conspicuous in common Greek, and personified in the Charites , the three Graces of mythology the prominent instances in the OT are   Psalms 45:2 (‘Grace is poured on thy lips’) and probably   Zechariah 4:7; add to these   Proverbs 1:9;   Proverbs 3:22;   Proverbs 4:9;   Proverbs 22:11;   Proverbs 31:30 (‘favour’). The same noun occurs in the Heb. of   Proverbs 5:10;   Proverbs 11:16 , and   Ecclesiastes 10:12 ,   Proverbs 17:8 , under the adjectival renderings ‘pleasant,’ ‘gracious,’ ‘precious,’ and in   Nahum 3:4 (‘well-favoured’). For the NT, ‘grace’ is charm in   Luke 4:22 ,   Colossians 4:8; in   Ephesians 4:28 there may be a play on the double sense of the word. Charm of speech is designated by charis in Sir 20:18; Sir 21:10; Sir 37:21 , in the Apocrypha. in   James 1:11 ‘grace of the fashion’ renders a single Greek word signifying ‘fair-seemingness,’ quite distinct from charis .

2. The OT passages coming under (2) above, employ ‘grace’ chiefly in the idiom ‘to find grace ( or favour),’ which is used indifferently of favour in the eyes of J″ [Note: Jahweh.] (  Genesis 6:8 ) or of one’s fellow-men (  Genesis 39:4 ), and whether the finder bring good (  Genesis 39:4 ) or ill (  Genesis 19:19 ) desert to the quest. With this broad application, ‘grace’ means good-will, favourable inclination towards another of the superior (king, benefactor, etc.) or one treated as such by courtesy, to the inferior shown on whatever ground. In the Eng. NT, ‘favour’ is reserved for this wide sense of charis  ; see   Luke 1:30;   Luke 2:52 ,   Acts 2:47;   Acts 7:10;   Acts 7:46;   Acts 25:3 : ‘grace’ has the same meaning in   Luke 2:40 ,   Acts 4:33 ,   Zechariah 12:10 is the one instance in which ‘grace’ in the OT approximates to its prevalent NT import; but the Heb. adj. for gracious , and the equivalent vb., are together used of J″ [Note: Jahweh.] , in His attitude towards the sinful, more than twenty times, associated often with ‘merciful,’ etc.; see. e.g. ,   Exodus 33:19;   Exodus 34:6 ,   Psalms 77:9;   Psalms 103:8 ,   Joel 2:13 ,   Jonah 4:2 . The character in God which the OT prefers to express by mercy , signifying His pitiful disposition towards man as weak and wretched, the NT in effect translates into ‘grace,’ as signifying His forgiving disposition towards man as guilty and lost.

3. Christianity first made grace a leading term in the vocabulary of religion. The prominence and emphasis of its use are due to St. Paul, in whose Epp. the word figures twice as often as in all the NT besides. ‘Grace’ is the first word of greeting and the last of farewell in St. Paul’s letters; for him it includes the sum of all blessing that comes from God through Christ: ‘grace’ the source, ‘peace’ the stream. In the Gospels, the Johannine Prologue (vv. 14 17: contrasted with ‘law,’ and co-extensive with ‘truth’) supplies the only example of ‘grace’ used with the Pauline fulness of meaning. This passage, and the Lukan examples in Acts (  Acts 6:3;   Acts 11:23;   Acts 13:43;   Acts 14:8;   Acts 15:11;   Acts 20:24;   Acts 20:32 ), with the kindred uses in   Hebrews 1:1-14 ,   Hebrews 1:2 Peter., Jude, 2 Jn., Rev., may be set down to the influence of Paulinism on Apostolic speech. There is little in earlier phraseology to explain the supremacy in the NT of this specific term; a new experience demanded a new name. ‘Grace’ designates the principle in God of man’s salvation through Jesus Christ . It is God’s unmerited, unconstrained love towards sinners, revealed and operative in Christ.   Titus 2:11-14 , interpreted by   Romans 5:1 to   Romans 6:23 , is the text which approaches nearest to a definition; this passage shows how St. Paul derived from God’s grace not only the soul’s reconciliation and new hopes in Christ (  Romans 5:1-11 ), but the whole moral uplifting and rehabilitation of human life through Christianity. St. Paul’s experience in conversion gave him this watchword; the Divine goodness revealed itself to the ‘chief of sinners’ under the aspect of ‘grace’ (  1 Corinthians 15:9 f.,   1 Timothy 1:13-16 ). The spontaneity and generosity of God’s love felt in the act of his salvation, the complete setting aside therein of everything legal and conventional (with, possibly, the added connotation of charm of which charis is redolent), marked out this word as describing what St. Paul had proved of Christ’s redemption; under this name he could commend it to the world of sinful men; his ministry ‘testifies the gospel of the grace of God’ (  Acts 20:24 ). Essentially, grace stands opposed to sin  ; it is God’s way of meeting and conquering man’s sin (  Romans 5:20 f.,   Romans 6:1 ff.,   Romans 6:15 ff.): He thus effects ‘the impossible task of the Law’ (  Romans 7:7 to   Romans 8:4 ). The legal discipline had taught St. Paul to understand, by contrast, the value and the operation of the principle of grace; he was able to handle it with effect in the legalist controversy. Grace supplies, in his theology, the one and sufficient means of deliverance from sin, holding objectively the place which faith holds subjectively in man’s salvation (  Ephesians 2:8 ,   Titus 2:11 ). Formally, and in point of method, grace stands opposed to ‘ the law ,’ ‘which worketh wrath’ (  Romans 3:19-26;   Romans 4:15 ,   Galatians 2:15-21;   Galatians 5:4 ); it supersedes the futile ‘works’ by which the Jew had hoped, in fulfilling the Law, to merit salvation (  Romans 4:2-8;   Romans 11:6 ,   Galatians 2:16-20 ,   Ephesians 2:8 f.). Grace excludes, therefore, all notion of ‘debt’ as owing from God to men, all thought of earning the Messianic blessings (  Romans 4:4 ) by establishing ‘a righteousness of one’s own’ (  Romans 10:3 ); through it men are ‘justified gratis ’ (  Romans 3:24 ) and ‘receive the gift of righteousness’ (  Romans 5:17 ). In twenty-two instances St. Paul writes of ‘the grace of God ’ (or ‘his grace’); In fifteen, of ‘the grace of Christ ’ (‘the Lord Jesus Christ,’ etc.). Ten of the latter examples belong to salutation-formulæ (so in   Revelation 22:21 ), the fullest of these being   2 Corinthians 13:14 , where ‘the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ’ is referred to ‘the love of God’ as its fountain-head; In the remaining five detached instances the context dictates the combination ‘grace of Christ’ (‘our Lord,’ etc.), Rom 5:15 ,   2 Corinthians 8:9;   2 Corinthians 12:9 ,   Galatians 1:6 ,   1 Timothy 1:14 (also in   2 Peter 3:16 ). In other NT writings the complement is predominantly ‘of God’;   1 Peter 5:10 inverts the expression ‘the God of all grace.’ Once in   2 Thessalonians 1:12 grace is referred conjointly to God and Christ . Christ is the expression and vehicle of the grace of the Father, and is completely identified with it (see   John 1:14;   John 1:17 ), so that God’s grace can equally be called Christ’s  ; but its reference to the latter is strictly personal in such a passage as   2 Corinthians 8:9 . A real distinction is implied in the remarkable language of   Romans 5:15 , where, after positing ‘the grace of God’ as the fundamental ground of redemption, St. Paul adds to this ‘the gift in grace, viz. the grace of the one man Jesus Christ ,’ who is the counterpart of the sinful and baleful Adam: the generous bounty of the Man towards men , shown by Jesus Christ, served an essential part in human redemption.

Cognate to charis , and charged in various ways with its meaning, is the vb. rendered (RV [Note: Revised Version.] ) to grant in   Acts 27:24 ,   Galatians 3:18 ,   Philippians 1:29 ,   Philippians 1:22 , give in   Philippians 2:9 , freely give in   Romans 8:32 ,   1 Corinthians 2:12 , and (with ‘wrong’ or ‘debt’ for object, expressed or implied) forgive in   Luke 7:42 f.,   2 Corinthians 2:7; 2Co 2:10;   2 Corinthians 12:13 ,   Ephesians 4:32 ,   Colossians 2:13;   Colossians 3:18 .

There are two occasional secondary uses of ‘grace,’ derived from the above, in the Pauline Epp.: it may denote ( a ) a gracious endowment or bestowment , God’s grace to men taking shape in some concrete ministry (so   Ephesians 4:7 , in view of the following context, and perhaps   Galatians 2:9; cf.   Acts 7:10 ) for charis in this sense charisma ( charism ) is St. Paul’s regular term, as in   1 Corinthians 12:4 etc.; and ( b ) a state of grace , God’s grace realized by the recipient (  Romans 5:2 ,   2 Timothy 2:1 ).

G. G. Findlay.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [5]

1: Χάρις (Strong'S #5485 — Noun Feminine — charis — khar'-ece )

has various uses, (a) objective, that which bestows or occasions pleasure, delight, or causes favorable regard; it is applied, e.g., to beauty, or gracefulness of person,  Luke 2:40; act,  2—Corinthians 8:6 , or speech,  Luke 4:22 , RV, "words of grace" (AV, "gracious words");  Colossians 4:6; (b) subjective, (1) on the part of the bestower, the friendly disposition from which the kindly act proceeds, graciousness, loving-kindness, goodwill generally, e.g.,  Acts 7:10; especially with reference to the Divine favor or "grace," e.g.,  Acts 14:26; in this respect there is stress on its freeness and universality, its spontaneous character, as in the case of God's redemptive mercy, and the pleasure or joy He designs for the recipient; thus it is set in contrast with debt,  Romans 4:4,16 , with works,  Romans 11:6 , and with law,  John 1:17; see also, e.g.,  Romans 6:14,15;  Galatians 5:4; (2) on the part of the receiver, a sense of the favor bestowed, a feeling of gratitude, e.g.,  Romans 6:17 ("thanks"); in this respect it sometimes signifies "to be thankful," e.g.,   Luke 17:9 ("doth he thank the servant?" lit., "hath he thanks to");   1—Timothy 1:12; (c) in another objective sense, the effect of "grace," the spiritual state of those who have experienced its exercise, whether (1) a state of "grace," e.g.,  Romans 5:2;  1—Peter 5:12;  2—Peter 3:18 , or (2) a proof thereof in practical effects, deeds of "grace," e.g.,  1—Corinthians 16:3 , RV, "bounty" (AV, "liberality");  2—Corinthians 8:6,19 (in   2—Corinthians 9:8 it means the sum of earthly blessings); the power and equipment for ministry, e.g.,   Romans 1:5;  12:6;  15:15;  1—Corinthians 3:10;  Galatians 2:9;  Ephesians 3:2,7 .

 Acts 2:47 Romans 1:7 1—Corinthians 1:3 Acts 15:23 James 1:1  2—John 1:10,11 2—Corinthians 1:12 Galatians 1:6 Romans 5:15  2—Thessalonians 1:12 James 4:6BenefitBountyLiberalityThank. Luke 1:28 Ephesians 1:6

2: Εὐπρέπεια (Strong'S #2143 — Noun Feminine — euprepeia — yoo-prep'-i-ah )

"comeliness, goodly appearance," is said of the outward appearance of the flower of the grass,  James 1:11 .

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [6]

There is much in the Bible about grace, partly because there is much in the Bible about sin. Grace is the undeserved favour of God. People repeatedly sin and rebel against God, yet God in his grace is still ready to forgive them when they repent ( Exodus 34:6;  Romans 5:20).

Saved by God’s grace

The only way people have ever been forgiven their sin and saved from condemnation is by God’s grace, and they receive this salvation through faith ( Ephesians 2:8). People have never been saved through obeying the law or offering sacrifices ( Romans 3:24-26;  Galatians 3:17-22). (Concerning the purpose of Old Testament regulations given to Israel see Covenant ; Law ; Sacrifice .)

So much is grace a characteristic of God that the Bible calls him the God of grace ( 1 Peter 5:10; see also Love ; Mercy ). He chooses to save people because of his sovereign grace alone, not because of their good works ( Romans 11:6;  Ephesians 1:5-6; see Election ). Many of the stories that Jesus told illustrate God’s grace (e.g.  Matthew 18:23-34;  Matthew 20:1-16;  Luke 7:36-50;  Luke 14:16-24;  Luke 15:11-32), but Jesus himself is the greatest demonstration of God’s grace ( John 1:14). He demonstrated that grace not only by the way he lived ( John 1:17;  2 Corinthians 8:9), but particularly by his death on the cross ( Romans 3:24-25;  Galatians 2:21;  Hebrews 2:9).

Through Jesus’ death, God can forgive freely all who repent of their sins and trust in him. More than that, God brings them into a right relationship with himself and declares them righteous ( Romans 3:23-24;  Romans 4:5;  Romans 5:2;  1 Corinthians 1:4;  Titus 2:11;  Titus 3:4-5). (For further discussion on God’s work of grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus see Forgiveness ; Justification ; Propitiation ; Reconciliation .)

God’s grace in the lives of believers

Although salvation is a gift of God’s grace and not a reward for good works, that is no reason for Christians to ignore good works. They are not free to live as they like or sin as they like. God’s grace continues to work in their lives, giving them the inner power to discipline themselves, to do good, to endure suffering and to triumph over temptation ( Romans 6:14-15;  2 Corinthians 12:9;  2 Timothy 2:1;  Titus 2:11-14; see Freedom; Good Works ) They can carry out their Christian service properly only because God in his grace has given them the ability to do so ( Romans 12:6).

God exercised his grace towards believers before they were born. That same grace operates continually towards them throughout life and will continue to be active towards them throughout the ages to come ( Galatians 1:15;  Romans 5:2;  Romans 5:21;  Ephesians 2:7;  1 Timothy 1:12-16).

Paul’s practice was to begin and end his letters by speaking of the grace of God, or the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this way he indicated that he was always conscious that the believer’s whole life is lived in the atmosphere of God’s grace ( Romans 1:7;  Romans 16:20;  1 Corinthians 1:3;  1 Corinthians 16:23;  Galatians 1:3;  Galatians 6:18).

King James Dictionary [7]

GRACE, n. L. gratia, which is formed on the Celtic Eng. agree, congruous, and ready. The primary sense of gratus, is free, ready, quick, willing, prompt, from advancing.

1. Favor good will kindness disposition to oblige another as a grant made as an act of grace.

Or each, or all, may win a lady's grace.

2. Appropriately, the free unmerited love and favor of God, the spring and source of all the benefits men receive from him.

And if by grace,then it is no more of works.  Romans 11

3. Favorable influence of God divine influence or the influence of the spirit, in renewing the heart and restraining from sin.

My grace is sufficient for thee.  2 Corinthians 12

4. The application of Christ's righteousness to the sinner.

Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.  Romans 5

5. A state of reconciliation to God.  Romans 5:2 . 6. Virtuous or religious affection or disposition, as a liberal disposition, faith, meekness, humility, patience, &c. proceeding from divine influence. 7. Spiritual instruction, improvement and edification.  Ephesians 4:29 . 8. Apostleship, or the qualifications of an apostle.  Ephesians 3.8 . 9. Eternal life final salvation.  1 Peter 1:13 . 10. Favor mercy pardon.

Bow and sue for grace

With suppliant knee.

11. Favor conferred.

I should therefore esteem it a great favor and grace.

12. Privilege.

To few great Jupiter imparts this grace.

13. That in manner, deportment or language which renders it appropriate and agreeable suitableness elegance with appropriate dignity. We say, a speaker delivers his address with grace a man performs his part with grace.

Grace was in all her steps.

Her purple habit sits with such a grace

On her smooth shoulders.

14. Natural or acquired excellence any endowment that recommends the possessor to others as the graces of wit and learning. 15. Beauty embellishment in general, whatever adorns and recommends to favor sometimes, a single beauty.

I pass their form and every charming grace.

16. Beauty deified among pagans, a goddess. The graces were three in number, Aglaia, Thalia, and Euphrosyne, the constant attendants of Venus.

The loves delighted, and the graces played.

17. Virtue physical as the grace of plants. Not used. 18. The title of a duke or an archbishop, and formerly of the king of England, meaning your goodness or clemency. His Grace the Duke of York. Your Grace will please to accept my thanks. 19. A short prayer before or after meat a blessing asked, or thanks rendered. 20. In music, graces signifies turns, trills and shakes introduced for embellishment.

Day in grace, in theology, time of probation, when an offer is made to sinners.

Days in grace, in commerce, the days immediately following the day when a bill or note becomes due, which days are allowed to the debtor or payor to make payment in. In Great Britain and the United States the days of grace are three, but in other countries more the usages of merchants being different.

GRACE, To adorn to decorate to embellish and dignify.

Great Jove and Phoebus graced his noble line.

And hail, ye fair, of every charm possess'd,

Who grace this rising empire of the west.

1. To dignify or raise by act of favor to honor.

He might at his pleasure grace or disgrace whom

he would in court.

2. To favor to honor. 3. To supply with heavenly grace.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [8]

This word is understood in several senses: for beauty, graceful form, and agreeableness of person,  Proverbs 1:9;  Proverbs 3:22 . For favour, friendship, kindness,  Genesis 6:8;  Genesis 18:3;  Romans 11:6;  2 Timothy 1:9 . For pardon, mercy, undeserved remission of offences,  Ephesians 2:5;  Colossians 1:6 . For certain gifts of God, which he bestows freely, when, where, and on whom, he pleases; such are the gifts of miracles, prophecy, languages, &c,  Romans 15:15;  1 Corinthians 15:10;  Ephesians 3:8 , &c. For the Gospel dispensation, in contradistinction to that of the law,  Romans 6:14;  1 Peter 5:12 . For a liberal and charitable disposition,  2 Corinthians 8:7 . For eternal life, or final salvation,  1 Peter 1:13 . In theological language grace also signifies divine influence upon the soul; and it derives the name from this being the effect of the great grace or favour of God to mankind. Austin defines inward actual grace to be the inspiration of love, which prompts us to practise according to what we know, out of a religious affection and compliance. He says, likewise, that the grace of God is the blessing of God's sweet influence, whereby we are induced to take pleasure in that which he commands, to desire and to love it; and that if God does not prevent us with this blessing, what he commands, not only is not perfected, but is not so much as begun in us. Without the inward grace of Jesus Christ, man is not able to do the least thing that is good. He stands in need of this grace to begin, continue, and finish all the good he does, or rather, which God does in him and with him, by his grace. This grace is free; it is not due to us: if it were due to us, it would be no more grace; it would be a debt,  Romans 11:6; it is in its nature an assistance so powerful and efficacious, that it surmounts the obstinacy of the most rebellious human heart, without destroying human liberty. There is no subject on which Christian doctors have written so largely, as on the several particulars relating to the grace of God. The difficulty consists in reconciling human liberty with the operation of divine grace; the concurrence of man with the influence and assistance of the Almighty. And who is able to set up an accurate boundary between these two things? Who can pretend to know how far the privileges of grace extend over the heart of man, and what that man's liberty exactly is, who is prevented, enlightened, moved, and attracted by grace?

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [9]

There are various senses in which this word is used in Scripture; but the general idea of it, as it relates to God, is his free favour and love. As it respects men, it implies the happy state of reconciliation and favour with God wherein they stand, and the holy endowments, qualities, or habits of faith, hope, love, &c., which they possess. Divines have distinguished grace into common or general, special or particular. Common grace, if it may be so called, is what all men have; as the light of nature and reason, convictions of conscience, &c.,  Romans 2:4 .  1 Timothy 4:10 . Special grace is that which is peculiar to some people only; such as electing, redeeming, justifying, pardoning, adopting, establishing, and sanctifying grace,  Romans 8:30 . This special grace is by some distinguished into imputed and inherent: imputed grace consists in the holiness, obedience, and righteousness of Christ, imputed to us for our justification; inherent grace is what is wrought in the heart by the Spirit of God in regeneration.

Grace is also said to be irresistible, efficacious, and victorious; not but that there are in human nature, in the first moments of conviction, some struggles, opposition, or conflict; but by these terms we are to understand, that, in the end, victory declares for the grace of the Gospel. There have been many other distinctions of grace; but as they are of too frivolous a nature, and are now obsolete, they need not a place here. Growth in grace is the progress we make in the divine life. It discovers itself by an increase of spiritual light and knowledge; by our renouncing self, and depending more upon Christ; by growing more spiritual in duties; by being more humble, submissive, and thankful; by rising superior to the corruptions of our nature, and finding the power of sin more weakened in us; by being less attached to the world, and possessing more of a heavenly disposition. M'Laurin's Essays, essay 3.; Gill's Body of Div. vol. 1: p. 118.; Doddridge's Lec., part 8: prop. 139.; Pike and Hayward's Cases of Conscience; Saurin on  1 Corinthians 9:26-27 . vol. 4:; Booth's reign of Grace.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [10]

Favor, mercy. Divine grace is the free and undeserved love and favor of God towards man as a sinner, especially as exhibited in the plan of redemption through Jesus Christ,  John 1:17   3:16   Romans 3:24-26 . It is only by the free grace of god that we embrace the offers of mercy, and appropriate to ourselves the blessings graciously purchased by redeeming blood.

The "Grace Of God" spontaneous, unmerited, self-directed, and almighty, is the source of the whole scheme of redemption,  Romans 11:6   2 Timothy 1:9 . With it are united "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ," who gave himself for sinners; and that of "the Spirit of grace," by whom alone the grace offered by the Father and purchased by the Son is effectually applied. Thus  2 Peter 3:18 , is traced up to the grace of God as its only source; and the gospel of Christ and the work of the spirit-both pure graceare its only channels of communication. Hence also all the fruits and blessings of the gospel are termed graces,  2 Corinthians 8:7   Philippians 1:7; not only regeneration, pardon, enlightenment, sanctification, etc., but miraculous, official, and prophetic gifts, the peculiar traits of Christian character, and everlasting salvation,  1 Peter 1:13 . In  Galatians 5:4 , "grace" means God's plan of salvation by his mercy, not by our works.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [11]

This word hath a variety of meanings in the word of God, as it relates to the divine power, and as it relates to man. When we speak of grace in relation to God, it hath a vast comprehension of meaning. The whole gospel is called the grace of God. And the application of it, in any individual instance of its saving power, is called "the grace of God. By grace ye are saved (saith the apostle,) through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." ( Ephesians 2:8) The grace of God is free, like the light, or the dew of heaven. Grace acts from itself to itself; nothing of human power, Or merit, disposing to it, nor of unworthiness keeping from it. So that every thing by Christ is grace; and to suppose any one pre-disposing act in the creature, or any merit in the creature, would altogether alter and destroy the very property of grace. (See  Romans 11:6) What is meant by grace in man, means altogether favour and affection. Thus Joseph found grace; that is, favour in the sight of his master. ( Genesis 39:4. So Abraham,  Genesis 18:1-3. The case is similar in the case of Lydia,  Acts 16:15)

Morrish Bible Dictionary [12]

chen, χάρις. The favour and graciousness shown by God to guilty man. It stands in contrast to law,  John 1:17;  Galatians 5:4; also to works and to desert or reward,  Romans 4:4;  Romans 11:6; 'by grace ye are saved.'  Ephesians 2:5,8 . The grace of God is vouchsafed to the saints all along the way: we find nearly all the Epistles commence and end with the invocation of grace on the churches: whereas when individuals are addressed MERCYis added.  1 Timothy 1:2;  2 Timothy 1:2;  Titus 1:4;  2 John 3 . The different aspects of grace and mercy have been thus set forth: "Grace refers more to the source and character of the sentiment; mercy to the state of the person who is its object, Grace may give me glory; mercy contemplates some need in me. Mercy is great in the greatness of the need; grace in the thought of the person exercising it."

Easton's Bible Dictionary [13]

  • The glory hereafter to be revealed ( 1 Peter 1:13 ).

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Grace'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

  • Charles Spurgeon's Illustration Collection [14]

    Payson, when dying, expressed himself with great earnestness respecting the grace of God as exercised in saving lost men, and seemed particularly affected that it should be bestowed on one so ill-deserving as himself. 'Oh, how sovereign! Oh, how sovereign! Grace is the only thing that make us like God. I might be dragged through heaven, earth, and hell, and I should be still the same sinful, polluted wretch, unless God himself should renew and cleanse me.'

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [15]

    grās  :

    1. The Word Cháris

    In the English New Testament the word "grace" is always a translation of ( χάρις , cháris ), a word that occurs in the Greek text something over 170 times (the reading is uncertain in places). In secular Greek of all periods it is also a very common word, and in both Biblical and secular Greek it is used with far more meanings than can be represented by any one term in English Primarily ( a ) The word seems to denote pleasant external appearance, "gracefulness" "loveliness"; compare the personificaion in the Graces." Such a use is found in   Luke 4:22 , where 'wondered at the charm of his words' is a good translation; and similarly in  Colossians 4:6 . ( b ) Objectively, charis may denote the impression produced by "gracefulness," as in  3 John 1:4 'greater gratification have I none than this' (but many manuscripts read chará , "joy," here). ( c ) As a mental attribute charis may be translated by "graciousness," or, when directed toward a particular person or persons, by "favor." So in  Luke 2:52 , "Jesus advanced ... in favor with God and men." ( d ) As the complement to this, charis denotes the emotion awakened in the recipient of such favor, i.e. "gratitude." So  Luke 17:9 reads literally, 'Has he gratitude to that servant?' In a slightly transferred sense charis designates the words or emotion in which gratitude is expressed, and so becomes "thanks" (some 10 t,  Romans 6:17 , etc.)'. ( e ) Concretely, charis may mean the act by which graciousness is expressed, as in   1 Corinthians 16:3 , where the King James Version translates by "liberality," and the Revised Version (British and American) by "bounty." These various meanings naturally tend to blend into each other, and in certain cases it is difficult to fix the precise meaning that the writer meant the word to convey, a confusion that is common to both New Testament and secular Greek And in secular Greek the word has a still larger variety of meanings that scarcely concern theologian.

    2. Grace as Power

    Naturally, the various meanings of the word were simply taken over from ordinary language by the New Testament writers. And so it is quite illegitimate to try to construct on the basis of all the occurrences of the word a single doctrine that will account for all the various usages. That one word could express both "charm of speech" and "thankfulness for blessings" was doubtless felt to be a mere accident, if it was thought of at all. But none the less, the very elasticity of the word enabled it to receive still another - new and technically Christian - meaning. This seems to have originated in part by fusing together two of the ordinary significances. In the first place, as in ( e ) above, charis may mean "a gift." In   1 Corinthians 16:3;  2 Corinthians 8:19 it is the money given by the Corinthians to the Jerusalemites. In   2 Corinthians 9:8 it is the increase of worldly goods that God grants for charitable purposes. In   2 Corinthians 1:15 it is the benefit received by the Corinthians from a visit by Paul. In a more spiritual sense charis is the endowment for an office in the church ( Ephesians 4:7 ), more particularly for the apostolate ( Romans 1:5;  Romans 12:3;  Romans 15:15;  1 Corinthians 3:10;  Ephesians 3:2 ,  Ephesians 3:7 ). So in  1 Corinthians 1:4-7 margin charis is expanded into "word and all knowledge," endowments with which the Corinthians were especially favored. In  1 Peter 1:13 charis is the future heavenly blessedness that Christians are to receive; in  1 Peter 3:7 it is the present gift of "life." In the second place, charis is the word for God's favor , a sense of the term that is especially refined by Paul (see below). But God's favor differs from man's in that it cannot be conceived of as inactive. A favorable "thought" of God's about a man involves of necessity the reception of some blessing by that man, and "to look with favor" is one of the commonest Biblical paraphrases for "bestow a blessing." Between "God's favor" and "God's favors" there exists a relation of active power, and as charis denoted both the favor and the favors, it was the natural word for the power that connected them. This use is very clear in  1 Corinthians 15:10 , where Paul says, "not I, but the grace of God which was with me" labored more abundantly than they all: grace is something that labors . So in  2 Corinthians 12:9 , "My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect in weakness"; compare  2 Timothy 2:1 , "strengthened in the grace," and  1 Peter 4:10 , "stewards of the manifold grace." Evidently in this sense "grace" is almost a synonym for the Spirit (see Holy Spirit ), and there is little real difference between "full of the Holy Spirit" and "full of grace and power" in  Acts 6:5 ,  Acts 6:8 , while there is a very striking parallel between  Ephesians 4:7-13 and   1 Corinthians 12:4-11 , with "gifts of grace" in the one passage, and "gifts of the Spirit" in the other. And this connection between grace and the Spirit is found definitely in the formula "Spirit of grace" in  Hebrews 10:29 (compare   Zechariah 12:10 ). And, as is well known, it is from this sense of the word that the Catholic doctrine of grace developed.

    3. Grace in Justification

    This meaning of charis was obtained by expanding and combining other meanings. By the opposite process of narrowly restricting one of the meanings of the word, it came again into Christian theology as a technical term, but this time in a sense quite distinct from that just discussed. The formation of this special sense seems to have been the work of Paul. When charis is used with the meaning "favor," nothing at all is implied as to whether or not the favor is deserved. So, for instance, in the New Testament, when in   Luke 2:52 it is said that "Jesus advanced ... in favor with God and men," the last possible thought is that our Lord did not deserve this favor. Compare also   Luke 2:40 and   Acts 2:47 and, as less clear cases,   Luke 1:30;  Acts 7:46;  Hebrews 4:16;  Hebrews 12:15 ,  Hebrews 12:28 . But the word has abundant use in secular Greek in the sense of unmerited favor, and Paul seized on this meaning of the word to express a fundamental characteristic of Christianity. The basic passage is  Romans 11:5 ,  Romans 11:6 , where as a definition is given, "If it is by grace, it is no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace." That the word is used in other senses could have caused no 1st-century reader to miss the meaning, which, indeed, is unmistakable. "Grace" in this sense is an attitude on God's part that proceeds entirely from within Himself, and that is conditioned in no way by anything in the objects of His favor. So in  Romans 4:4 . If salvation is given on the basis of what a man has done, then salvation is given by God as the payment of a debt. But when faith is reckoned for what it is not, i.e. righteousness, there is no claim on man's part, and he receives as a pure gift something that he has not earned. (It is quite true that faith involves moral effort, and so may be thought of as a sort of a "work"; it is quite true that faith does something as a preparation for receiving God's further gifts. But it simply clouds the exegetical issue to bring in these ideas here, as they certainly were not present in Paul's mind when the verses were being written.) "Grace" then, in this sense is the antinomy to "works" or to "law"; it has a special relation to the guilt of sin ( Romans 5:20;  Romans 6:1 ), and has almost exactly the same sense as "mercy." Indeed, "grace" here differs from "mercy" chiefly in connoting eager love as the source of the act. See Justification . Of course it is this sense of grace that dominates Rom 3 through 6, especially in thesis  Romans 3:24 , while the same use is found in  Galatians 2:21;  Ephesians 2:5 ,  Ephesians 2:8;  2 Timothy 1:9 . The same strict sense underlies  Galatians 1:6 and is found, less sharply formulated, in   Titus 3:5-7 . ( Galatians 5:4 is perhaps different.) Outside of Paul's writings, his definition of the word seems to be adopted in   John 1:17;  Acts 15:11;  Hebrews 13:9 , while a perversion of this definition in the direction of antinomianism is the subject of the invective in  Judges 1:4 . And, of course, it is from the word in this technical Pauline sense that an elaborate Protestant doctrine of grace has been developed.

    4. Special Uses

    A few special uses of the word may be noted. That the special blessing of God on a particular undertaking ( Acts 14:26;  Acts 15:40 ) should be called a "grace" needs no explanation. In  Luke 6:32-34 , and  1 Peter 2:19 ,  1 Peter 2:20 , charis seems to be used in the sense of "that which deserves the thanks of God," i.e. a specifically Christian act as distinguished from an act of "natural morality." "Grace for grace" in  John 1:16 is a difficult phrase, but an almost exact parallel in Philo ( Poster. Cain , 43) may fix the sense as "benefit on benefit." But the tendency of the New Testament writers is to combine the various meanings the word can have, something that is particularly well illustrated in 2 Cor 8;  2 Corinthians 9:1-15 . In these two chapters the word occurs 10 t, but in so many different senses as to suggest that Paul is consciously playing with the term. Charis is the money given to the Jerusalemites by the Corinthians ( 2 Corinthians 8:19 ), it is the increase of goods that God will grant the Corinthians ( 2 Corinthians 9:8 ), it is the disposition of the givers ( 2 Corinthians 8:6 ), it is the power of God that has wrought this disposition ( 2 Corinthians 8:1;  2 Corinthians 9:14 ), it is the act of Christ in the Incarnation ( 2 Corinthians 8:9; contrast the distinction between "God's grace" and "Christs act" in  Hebrews 2:9 ), it is the thanks that Paul renders ( 2 Corinthians 9:15 ). That all a Christian is and all that he has is God's gift could have been stated of course without the use of any special term at all. But in these two chapters Paul has taught this truth by using for the various ideas always the same term and by referring this term to God at the beginning and the end of the section. That is, to the multiplicity of concepts there is given a unity of terminology, corresponding to the unity given the multiple aspects of life by the thought of entire dependence on God. So charis , "grace," becomes almost an equivalent for "Christianity," viewed as the religion of dependence on God through Christ. As one may think of entering Christianity, abiding in it, or falling from it, so one may speak of entering into ( Romans 5:2 ), abiding in ( Acts 13:43 ), or falling from ( Galatians 5:4 ) grace; compare  1 Peter 5:12 . So the teaching of Christianity may be summed up as word or gospel of grace ( Acts 14:3;  Acts 20:24 ,  Acts 20:32 ). So "grace be with you" closes the Epistles as a sufficient summary of all the blessings that can be wished Christian readers. At the beginning of the Epistles the words "and peace" are usually added, but this is due only to the influence of the Jewish greeting "peace be with you" ( Luke 10:5 , etc.), and not to any reflection on "grace" and "peace" as separate things. (It is possible that the Greek use of chaı́rein , "rejoice," as an epistolary salutation (so in  James 1:1 ) influenced the Christian use of charis . But that "grace and peace" was consciously regarded as a universalistic combination of Jewish and Gentile custom is altogether unlikely.) The further expansion of the introductory formula by the introduction of "mercy" in 1 and 2 Tim is quite without theological significance.

    5. Teaching of Christ

    In the Greek Gospels, charis is used in the words of Christ only in   Luke 6:32-34;  Luke 17:9 . As Christ spoke in Aram, the choice of this word is due to Luke, probably under the influence of its common Christian use in his own day. And there is no word in our Lord's recorded sayings that suggests that He employed habitually any especial term to denote grace in any of its senses. But the ideas are unambiguously present. That the pardon of sins is a free act on God's part may be described as an essential in Christ's teaching, and the lesson is taught in all manner of ways. The prodigal knowing only his own wretchedness ( Luke 15:20 ), the publican without merit to urge ( Luke 18:13 ), the sick who need a physician ( Mark 2:17 ), they who hunger and thirst after righteousness ( Matthew 5:6 ), these are the ones for whom God's pardon is inexhaustible. And positive blessings, be they temporal or spiritual, are to be looked for from God, with perfect trust in Him who clothes the lilies and knows how to give good gifts to His children ( Matthew 7:11; here  Luke 11:13 has "Holy Spirit" for "gifts," doubtless a Lukan interpretation, but certainly a correct one). Indeed, it is not too much to say that Christ knows but one unpardonable sin, the sin of spiritual self-satisfaction - "That which is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God" (  Luke 16:15; compare  Luke 17:7-10; Mt 20:1-16).

    6. In the Old Testament

    There is no word in Hebrew that can represent all the meanings of charis , and in the Septuagint charis itself is used, practically, only as a translation of the Hebrew חן , ḥēn , "favor," this restriction of meaning being due to the desire to represent the same Hebrew word by the same Greek word as far as possible. And ḥēn , in turn, is used chiefly only in the phrase "find favor" (  Genesis 6:8 , etc.), whether the reference is to God or men, and without theological importance. Much nearer Paul's use of charis is rācōn (רצון ), "acceptance," in such passages as  Isaiah 60:10 , "In my favor have I had mercy on thee";  Psalm 44:3 , "not ... by their own sword ... but ... because thou wast favorable unto them." Perhaps still closer parallels can be detected in the use of חסד , ḥeṣedh , "kindness," "mercy," as in  Exodus 20:6 , etc. But, of course, a limitation of the sources for the doctrine to passages containing only certain words would be altogether unjust. The main lines seem to be these: (1) Technically, salvation by grace in the New Testament is opposed to an Old Testament doctrine of salvation by works ( Romans 4:4;  Romans 11:6 ), or, what is the same thing, by law ( Romans 6:14;  John 1:17 ); i.e men and God are thought of as parties to a contract, to be fulfilled by each independently. Most of the legislation seems to presuppose some idea of man as a quantity quite outside of God, while  Deuteronomy 30:11-14 states explicitly that the law is not too hard nor too far off for man. (2) Yet even this legalism is not without important modifications. The keeping of the law is man's work, but that man has the law to keep is something for which God only is to be thanked. Ps 119 is the essence of legalism, but the writer feels overwhelmed throughout by the greatness of the mercy that disclosed such statutes to men. After all, the initial (and vital!) act is God's not man's. This is stated most sharply in   Ezekiel 23:1-4 - O holibah and her sister became God's, not because of any virtue in them, but in spite of most revolting conduct. Compare  Deuteronomy 7:7 , etc. (3) But even in the most legalistic passages, an absolute literal keeping of the law is never (not even in such a passage as  Numbers 15:30 ,  Numbers 15:31 ) made a condition of salvation. The thought of transgression is at all times tempered with the thought of God's pardon. The whole sacrificial system, in so far as it is expiatory, rests on God's gracious acceptance of something in place of legal obedience, while the passages that offer God's mercy without demanding even a sacrifice ( Isaiah 1:18;  Micah 7:18-20 , etc.) are countless. Indeed, in Ezek 16; 20; 23, mercy is promised to a nation that is spoken of as hardly even desiring it, a most extreme instance. (4) But a mere negative granting of pardon is a most deficient definition of the Old Testament idea of God's mercy, which delights in conferring positive benefits. The gift to Abraham of the land of Canaan, liberation from Egypt, food in the wilderness, salvation from enemies, deliverance from exile - all of Israel's history can be felt to be the record of what God did for His people through no duty or compulsion, grateful thanksgiving for such unmerited blessings filling, for instance, much of the Psalter. The hearts of men are in God's keeping, to receive from Him the impulse toward what is right ( 1 Chronicles 29:18 , etc.). And the promise is made that the God who has manifested Himself as a forgiving Father will in due time take hold of His children to work in them actual righteousness ( Isaiah 1:26;  Isaiah 4:3 ,  Isaiah 4:4;  Isaiah 32:1-8;  Isaiah 33:24;  Jeremiah 31:33 ,  Jeremiah 31:14;  Ezekiel 36:25 ,  Ezekiel 36:26; Zec 8;  Daniel 9:24;  Psalm 51:10-12 ) With this promise - for the Old Testament always a matter of the future - the Old Testament teaching passes into that of the New Testament.

    7. Summary

    Most of the discussions of the Biblical doctrine of grace have been faulty in narrowing the meaning of "grace" to some special sense, and then endeavoring to force this special sense on all the Biblical passages. For instance, Roman scholars, starting with the meaning of the word in (say)  2 Corinthians 12:9 , have made  Romans 3:24 state that men are justified by the infusion of Divine holiness into them, an interpretation that utterly ruins Paul's argument. On the other hand, Protestant extremists have tried to reverse the process and have argued that grace cannot mean anything except favor as an attitude, with results that are equally disastrous from the exegetical standpoint. And a confusion has resulted that has prevented men from seeing that most of the controversies about grace are at cross-purposes. A rigid definition is hardly possible, but still a single conception is actually present in almost every case where "grace" is found - the conception that all a Christian has or is, is centered exclusively in God and Christ, and depends utterly on God through Christ. The kingdom of heaven is reserved for those who become as little children, for those who look to their Father in loving confidence for every benefit, whether it be for the pardon so freely given, or for the strength that comes from Him who works in them both to will and to do.


    All the Biblical theologies contain full discussions of the subject; for the New Testament the closest definitions are given by Bernard Weiss. But for the meaning of "grace" in any particular place the commentaries must be consulted, although the student may be warned against discussions that argue too closely from what may seem to be parallel passages.

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [16]

    (Lat. gratia; Gr. Χάρις ; Heb. חֶסֶד and חֶן a word of, various import in Scripture and in theology.

    I. Scriptural Uses.

    (1.) Physical beauty (grace of form and person) ( Proverbs 1:9;  Proverbs 3:22;  Proverbs 31:30.;  Psalms 45:2, aetc.).

    (2.) Favor, kindness, goodness, benevolence, friendship of God towards men, or of men towards one another ( Genesis 6:8;  Genesis 18:3;  Genesis 19:19;  1 Samuel 10:2;  2 Timothy 1:9).

    (3.) God's forgiving mercy, as gratuitous and opposed to merit ( Romans 11:6;  Ephesians 2:5;  Colossians 1:6, etc.).

    (4.) The Gospel generally, as, contradistinguished from the law ( John 1:17;  Romans 6:14;  1 Peter 5:12, etc.).

    (5.) Certain gifts of God,. freely bestowed; e.g. miracles, prophecy, tongues, etc. ( Romans 15:15;  1 Corinthians 15:10;  Ephesians 3:8, etc.).

    (6.) Christian virtues; e.g. charity, liberality, holiness, etc. ( 2 Corinthians 8:7;  2 Peter 3:18).

    (7.) The glory to be revealed, or eternal life ( 1 Peter 1:13). Wilson. (Bampton Lecture On The Communion Of Saints, Oxford, 1851, 8vo) remarks as follows on the scriptural use of the word: ῾Χάρις occurs in the Sept. version sixty-six times, of which number it stands sixty-one times for חֵן , its signification in the New Test. cannot be fairly estimated without reference to the idea expressed by that Hebrew word. This is drawn altogether from Oriental life, and, implies properly the good will and inclination of a superior towards an inferior, so much below him as to seek only for a spontaneous and gratuitous favor, or to invite the favor only by his needs, humility, and supplications. The favorable inclination is manifested in a kind of condescending aspect. Hence constantly the phrase ' find favor In The Sight Of ( בְּ ינֵי ): compare particularly  Numbers 6:25, 'The Lord make his face to shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee ( וַיחִנֶּךָ ). Upon an examination of the use of the words חֵן and חָנִן in the Old Test. it will appear that a quality is sometimes implied in the object which has invited the favor of the superior; sometimes the favor is altogether gratuitous: a few instances are subjoined. 1. A quality or antecedent merit is supposed:  Genesis 32:5;  Genesis 39:4;  Genesis 39:21;  Genesis 47:29;  Genesis 1:4;  1 Samuel 16:22;  1 Samuel 25:8;  2 Samuel 16:4;  Esther 2:15;  Esther 5:2;  Proverbs 1:9;  Proverbs 3:22;  Proverbs 4:9 (in these three places Χάριτας , spiritual graces);  Proverbs 5:19, Hinnula Gratice;  Proverbs 13:15, Bona Mens Dat Gratiam;  Proverbs 11:16, Mulier Gratiae ( Εὔχρηστος )); in  Nahum 3:4, Pulchritudo Meretricis. 2. On the other hand, the idea of merit or pleasing quality is excluded in  Genesis 34:11;  Exodus 3:21;  Exodus 11:3;  Exodus 12:36;  Numbers 32:5;  Ruth 2:2;  1 Samuel 1:18;  1 Samuel 27:5;  Jeremiah 31:2; but particularly in  Exodus 33:19, where אֲשֶׁר אָחֹן וְחִנֹּתִּי אֶתאּ . is translated by Ἐλεήσω Ὃν ¨ Ν Ἐλεῶ; and  Psalms 51:3, where, and in other places, חָנִן has nearly the meaning of רָחִם , to pity and commiserate. חֵן stands for a gift of free love in  Psalms 84:12;  Proverbs 3:34. A merit or pleasing quality in the object is neither excluded nor necessarily implied in  Psalms 67:2, and elsewhere. But some exciting cause of the favor is supposed in  Deuteronomy 28:50;  2 Kings 13:23;  Job 19:21 (Have pity on me); Psalm 123:6;  Proverbs 14:35;  Proverbs 19:17 (He that hath pity on the poor); 21:10;  Isaiah 30:18-19;  Isaiah 33:2;  Lamentations 4:16;  Amos 5:15;  Malachi 1:9. But the best illustration of the Hebrew idea of 'grace' will be derived from observing that הַתְהִנֵּן , the form of which implies To Make One'S Self An Object Ofgrace, means not to Deserve, but to Pray; and תִּחֲנוּנִים are not Merits, but Supplications; the humility and abject condition of the suppliant is thus the exciting cause of the favor ( 1 Kings 8:33;  1 Kings 8:47;  1 Kings 8:59;  1 Kings 9:3;  2 Chronicles 6:24;  2 Chronicles 6:37;  Job 9:15;  Job 19:16;  Esther 4:8). תְּחִנָּה is sometimes prayer and sometimes the favor gained by it." The word Grace occurs 128 times in the New Test. (Cruden). Wilson presents all these passages in a tabular form, with explanations, and remarks that a comparison of them will show that "there is not one text in which the word Grace occurs in any connection with either of the sacraments." (See Sacraments).

    II. Theological. The word "grace" is the hinge of three great theological controversies:

    (1) that of the nature of depravity and regeneration, between the orthodox doctrine of the Church and Pelagianism;

    (2) that of the Relation between grace and free will, between the Calvinists and the Arminians;

    (3) that of means (Media) of grace, between the Romanists and Puseyites on the one hand and Protestants on the other. For the treatment of the first, (See Pelagianism); on the second, (See Arminianism); (See Election); (See Predestination); (See Will). On the third, (See Sacraments).

    The Nuttall Encyclopedia [17]

    The term in Scripture for that which is the free gift of God, unmerited by man and of eternal benefit to him.