Putting Grace in Context

Putting Grace in Context

posted in: Conflict, Grace, Love | 0

I don’t think there is any one key that enables us to live out the Christian faith, but at the same time, I cannot find a biblical concept as important as grace. Grace separates Christianity from the pack of world religions. Grace puts me in awe. To think that as a sinful human, I can personally know our sinless and holy Creator is nothing short of amazing.

“But,” you might ask, “isn’t Christianity all about love?” Absolutely! However, a deeper understanding of God’s word reveals a powerful link between love and grace. Love is the fruit of grace’s progressive work in our lives. Those who begin with grace should end with love.

What farmer would be content to plant seeds that never sprout? Or to grow plants that never bear fruit? As the Master Gardener, God plants seeds of grace in our lives with a purpose that goes beyond delivering us from eternal damnation. This is not to suggest that we could ever move beyond the need for grace, but that God’s grace transforms the state of the human heart.

If we don’t have grace right, we won’t have love right, and if we don’t have love right, the church will never stand against the onslaught of wickedness that seems to come from every direction. A lack of love may be staring us in the face—or stabbing us in the back—but a misunderstanding of grace lurking beneath the surface is fueling the fires of conflict. Do you see a lack of love in the church? The roots can be traced to an incomplete understanding of grace. The bottom line is that if we don’t get grace right, Christianity simply will not work.

One of the keys to understanding grace from a biblical perspective is establishing context . People make a huge mistake when they pull verses about grace from their overall context. The Bible—and therefore grace—cannot be understood piecemeal but only as a whole work. It seems rather simple, but this one realization can transform our understanding of grace.

The Divine Progression of GraceUtilizing an exhaustive concordance (they can be found online), identify each time the Greek word for grace—charis—is found in the New Testament. Using an unmarked Bible, highlight the word that is translated from the original Greek, charis. When this task is complete, take some time to leaf through the entire New Testament while reading each passage that contains a highlighted word. Go through it a second and, possibly, a third time. This activity will take only a few hours and will help you to see God’s grace like you’ve never seen it before.

 

Note: This post is based on Bob’s book, The Divine Progression of Grace.