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He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Most gladly therefore I will rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest on me. 2 Corinthians 12:9


Grace, in Christianity, refers to God's love and salvation being poured out on people even though they don't deserve this love and salvation.

Biblical concepts about grace

The theme of grace permeates through the Bble. The whole Bible tells the story of humanity turning its back on its creator but despite this God lovingly forgiving us and drawing us back to himself through Jesus.

Romans 3:23, for example, explains that each person has sinned, failing to completely love God and each other and fallen short of the glory of God. Later in Romans, in chapter 6, verse 23, the apostle Paul explains that sin brings about death.

Despite our imperfections and failings that separate humans from a perfect and holy God and bring us death, Scripture reveals that God loves us. Although nothing we do can restore us to a right relationship with God, God himself restores that relationship to those who call out to Jesus Christ trusting in his death and resurrection. Passages such as Romans 5:8, John 3:16 and Romans 3:24 attest to this

  • But God commends his own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. - (Romans 5:8)
  • For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life. - (John 3:16)
  • being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; - (Romans 3:24)

This concept of God showing humanity his good favour as a gift is what grace is, although the word "grace" itself is never specifically defined in the Bible.

The word "grace" appears in the English Old Testament a dozen or so times, most commonly translated from the Hebrew word "chesed". This has also been translated as "loving-kindness".

In contrast, the word grace is found hundreds of times in the New Testament, translated from the Koine Greek word "charis" which also means gift. John 1:17 states that "For the law was given through Moses. Grace and truth were realized through Jesus Christ." Although the word is not used into the gospels many times, the concept of grace is seen in Jesus' teaching, parables, miracles and death and resurrection. The parable of the Prodigal Son is a wonderful example of grace.

Peter tells us to "set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed" (1 Peter 1:13) and that we worship the "God of all grace" (1 Peter 5:10). In Hebrews we are told that we may approach "the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:16).

Further developments in theological understandings of grace

Teachings regarding how a person receives grace from God varies slightly between different denominations.

In Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy this grace comes through faith in Jesus Christ but also is dispensed by Priests and Bishops within the church. For example, baptism itself is understood to bring about forgiveness and grace to the recipient in these denominations.

In Protestant churches grace is understood to come only through faith in Jesus alone, although again, there are a variety of understandings of the nature of grace, in particular, between those who hold Arminian views versus those who hold Calvinist views.

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Grace makes beauty out of ugly things


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