I was given definitions of Biblical terms just like you were at one point in your life. However, there are many things in Scripture that I was unwittingly taught that are not accurate.
Does God still speak to His children? I was taught no. But, God has never stopped speaking; people stopped listening.
Does God still heal the sick? I was taught no. But, God still responds to the “prayer of faith”‘ people stopped believing and they stopped praying in faith.
There are many other things that I have been unlearning with diligent searching and believing prayer as I seek the Lord in Scripture. One of the biggest things to me is the word “Grace”.
“God’s unmerited favor” may work for a “newborn babe” but, it doesn’t cut it for me. Actually, it hasn’t for quite a few years and I have regularly asked for understanding of God’s grace of him in my prayers.
IS GRACE UNMERITED?
First off “unmerited” means ~ Not deserved, not earned or unjustified
Did God give us something that is completely undeserved? If something is completely unjustifiable how can God remain righteous and just but still give us grace? God doesn’t give anything unmerited because He is completely righteous and just in all He does!
I contend that grace is completely unmerited on our part but, completely justifiable because of Jesus! Yes, we could never, did not and will not ever earn God’s grace but, Jesus could and did!
In the Scriptures; God himself inspired Paul to declare God’s grace is intrinsically linked to his approval/righteousness!
Romans 5 contains powerful contrasts of Adam/Death/Sin and the Law versus Jesus (Final Adam) Life, Righteousness and Grace. Consider 5:17 ~“17For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.”
Sin and Death did reign but much more will we who have received Holy Spirit (the abundance of grace and gift of righteousness) now reign through Jesus Christ! Grace and righteousness go together like sin and death! Paul declared enough times that grace does not give us license to sin; it actually empowers us to overcome sin!
Romans 5:21so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Consider how God described his reason for being gracious and merciful in Isaiah 30:18 ~“18Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you,
and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.
For the LORD is a God of justice;
blessed are all those who wait for him.”
God’s grace and mercy are not in spite of His righteousness and justice…they are because He is righteous and just! Grace is not contrary to righteousness; grace is because of God’s righteousness! These 2 are not opposite each other, they partner together! In the O.T. God’s throne is revealed as founded on righteousness and justice but in the New Covenant; it is finally declared that His throne is where we find mercy and grace! They now work together because of Jesus’ righteous blood poured out on the mercy seat at His throne! Jesus blood declares a better word ~ “Reconciled!”
Grace is based on righteousness! To call God’s grace completely unmerited is to call God unrighteous!
Since we see that grace is now Jesus-merited…Completely merited; let’s explore the concept of Grace as simply “favor” in the next post. I contend that the Bible defined it more like this ~
“Grace is not God’s kindness overlooking our lack of performance or works.Grace is righteous effort and performance. Grace is God-approved works!”