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Bible Dictionaries

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary


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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).

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Fleming, Don. Entry for 'Grace'. Bridgeway Bible Dictionary. 2004.

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