Most people know that grace is often defined as unmerited favor. Most readers of this blog also know what it is to experience the unmerited favor of God in the person of Christ, we have been given the gift of salvation, not on the basis of anything we have done to deserve it, but because God is gracious. Praise God for giving us what we need instead of what we deserve! I’ve heard this express this way: Grace is:
Many of us also know what it means to be treated well by a gracious person. You know what I’m talking about. Being in the company of a person who is not gracious really helps us to appreciate the preciousness of a gracious person. I could elaborate on this point, but that might not be gracious of me. What I do feel comfortable sharing in this regard is just how far this sort of practice should be taken—this notion of gracious treatment of one another.
This is brought to light in my studies of Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus. In Ephesians 4:31-32 we read, “31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” While the point of these verses is obvious, there is some quite specific in them that I’d like to point out.
The English translation of verse 32 doesn’t quite capture the idea of one of the Greek words. Where we read that we should be “forgiving” one another, we find the Greek word: χαρίζομαι. This word is pregnant with meaning. While the occasional granting of forgiveness or pardon is one idea contained in this word, its meaning is much more expansive. It speaks of behavior that is to permeate and characterize our lives and our interacting with others. According to Thayer, this word also mandates followers of Jesus to:
— do something pleasant or agreeable (to one), to do a favour to, gratify
— show one’s self gracious, kind, benevolent
— give graciously, give freely, bestow
— graciously to restore one to another
— preserve for one a person in peril
We are to deal graciously with one another. We are to be kind and compassionate to one another, GRACEing one another just as in Christ God has GRACEd us. This is a tall order, isn’t it? This is why I have long said that the most compelling force for godly living is God’s grace. If we can get our minds around just how good God is to us, it will cause us to want to live godly lives.
This is also why I was so thrilled when a gracious sister named Dee Andrews invited me to become a contributor to the Grace Notes Ministries blog. This is a place where the exhortation of the Holy Spirit through the hand of the Apostle Paul is being fulfilled. It is a place where followers of Jesus can go to learn more about God’s reign and receive encouragement for daily living. I hope all of the readers of the Spiritual Oasis will stop by often, drink deeply from the many talented authors that contribute to this ministry by making comments. I really do believe that you will be blessed each time you stop by. At Grace Notes Ministries…
E ncourage one another in our journey into the enjoyed presence of God.
Blessings to all,