Many teach that grace is simply God’s unmerited favor. They say: “salvation = grace  + nothing.” But, according to Paul “the grace teacher,” grace has a much fuller meaning.

Grace isn’t just what Jesus did for us on the cross. Grace is God giving us the Holy Spirit, Who enables us and gives us the POWER TO OVERCOME sin. And overcome, we must (Rev. 21:7-8 & many other scriptures).

Steve Hill says: Jesus didn’t set us free to sin; He set us free from sin.”

Paul teaches in Titus 2:

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to the intent that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we would live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world; 13 looking for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ; 14 who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify for himself a people for his own possession, zealous for good works.

From: http://www.bible-researcher.com/grace.html

The meaning of “Grace” (χαρις) in the Bible

“Against a still common view it must be stated that in Paul χαρις [the Greek word for grace – ed.] does not mean primarily a divine attribute (Wobbe, Charis-Gedanke, 32). It does not mean, in good Greek fashion, God’s graciousness, nor concetely his free love (Taylor). It almost always means the power of salvation which finds expression in specific gifts, acts, and spheres and which is even individualized in the charismata.” —Ernst Käsemann, Commentary on Romans, trans. G. Bromiley (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980), p. 14.

In Paul … χαρις is never merely an attitude or disposition of God (God’s character as gracious); consistently it denotes something much more dynamic—the wholly generous act of God. Like ‘Spirit,’ with which it overlaps in meaning (cf., e.g., [Rom] 6:14 and Gal 5:18), it denotes effective divine power in the experience of men.” —James D.G. Dunn, Romans 1-8 (Dallas: Word Books, 1988), p. 17.

[…]

Naturally, the various meanings of the word were simply taken over from ordinary language by the New Testament writers. And so it is quite illegitimate to try to construct on the basis of all the occurrences of the word a single doctrine that will account for all the various usages. That one word could express both “charm of speech” and “thankfulness for blessings” was doubtless felt to be a mere accident, if it was thought of at all. But none the less, the very elasticity of the word enabled it to receive still another—new and technically Christian—meaning. This seems to have originated in part by fusing together two of the ordinary significances.

In the first place, as in (e) above, charis may mean “a gift.” In 1 Corinthians 16:3; 2 Corinthians 8:19 it is the money given by the Corinthians to the Jerusalemites. In 2 Corinthians 9:8 it is the increase of worldly goods that God grants for charitable purposes. In 2 Corinthians 1:15 it is the benefit received by the Corinthians from a visit by Paul. In a more spiritual sense charis is the endowment for an office in the church (Ephesians 4:7), more particularly for the apostolate (Romans 1:5; 12:3; 15:15; 1 Corinthians 3:10; Ephesians 3:2,7). So in 1 Corinthians 1:4-7 charis is expanded into “word and all knowledge,” endowments with which the Corinthians were especially favored. In 1 Peter 1:13 charis is the future heavenly blessedness that Christians are to receive; in 3:7 it is the present gift of “life.”

In the second place, charis is the word for God’s favor, a sense of the term that is especially refined by St. Paul (see below). But God’s favor differs from man’s in that it cannot be conceived of as inactive. A favorable “thought” of God’s about a man involves of necessity the reception of some blessing by that man, and “to look with favor” is one of the commonest Biblical paraphrases for “bestow a blessing.” Between “God’s favor” and “God’s favors” there exists a relation of active power, and as charis denoted both the favor and the favors, it was the natural word for the power that connected them. This use is very clear in 1 Corinthians 15:10, where Paul says, “not I, but the grace of God which was with me” labored more abundantly than they all: grace is something that labors. So in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect in weakness”; compare 2 Timothy 2:1, “strengthened in the grace,” and 1 Peter 4:10, “stewards of the manifold grace.” Evidently in this sense “grace” is almost a synonym for the Spirit, and there is little real difference between “full of the Holy Spirit” and “full of grace and power in Acts 6:5,8, while there is a very striking parallel between Ephesians 4:7-13 and 1 Corinthians 12:4-11, with “gifts of grace” in the one passage, and “gifts of the Spirit” in the other. And this connection between grace and the Spirit is found definitely in the formula “Spirit of grace” in Hebrews 10:29 (compare Zechariah 12:10).

Related:

David Wilkerson: True Grace — “According to Paul, we are not walking in grace until we have broken from worldly corruptions. Unless we are endeavoring through the power of the Holy Spirit to lead godly and righteous lives, looking for the Lord’s coming in our every waking moment, we do not know God’s grace.”

Britt Williams: Biblical Grace, What Is It?

(video) Dan Corner: True Grace Vs False Grace — Charles Stanley’s security in sin: “You cannot out-sin the grace of God” Vs Jesus: “He who endures to the end will be saved”

“Grace”: To Give You Life to Overcome—Not a License to Sin

(video) Dan Corner: True Grace Vs False Grace — Charles Stanley’s security in sin: “You cannot out-sin the grace of God” Vs Jesus: “He who endures to the end will be saved”

Who-Goes-To-Heaven Scriptures — Narrow is the Way | Who are the Children of God? — “There is therefore now *no condemnation* to those who are IN CHRIST Jesus, who don’t WALK according to the flesh, but ACCORDING TO THE SPIRIT.”

How Many Will Be in Heaven? How Many Find the WAY? Only 1 in 40 — 2.5%!?!!

What is liberal Christian theology? — “Love” of our fellow man becomes the defining issue. The Greatest Commandment, ‘Life in the Son’ is ignored — where our yoke is easy and our burden is light, and we’ll find rest for our souls

Kevin Conner on the Believer’s CONDITIONAL Security: “OBEDIENCE IS the very law of SECURITY for all created beings. There can be NO SUCH THING as UNCONDITIONAL security.”

The CHIEF PILLAR of Eternal Security (OSAS) Toppled – John 10:27-29! — “Only those who are hearing and following Christ right now are his sheep”

Leonard Ravenhill: Romans 7 vs 8 — Life before the Son vs Life in the Son — “Romans 7 is a funeral march, Romans 8 is a wedding march … it’s a Spirit dominated life in chapter 8.”

[WordPOWER!] In Psalm 50 God Warns: “You have done these things, and I kept silent. You thought that I was just like you. … Now consider this…lest I tear you into pieces and there be none to deliver” (Hell?)

D. A. Carson: The Problem of the Canon Within the Canon — A subset of scriptures taught in exclusion of those that would result in true doctrine. “We badly need to listen to one another, especially when we least like what we hear.”

Dan Corner: “If you’re lusting in your heart, you are an adulterer, and you won’t inherit the kingdom.”

[Lust “the poison that kills the soul” FREEDOM] My experience: How DEMONS DRIVE heterosexual and homosexual lust in ‘Christians’ — The bad news is that demons drive lust. The good news is that demons drive lust, because…

Gandhi: Widespread Belief Doesn’t Make an Error True

HeartQuotes: Truth — “A thing does not therefore cease to be true because it is not accepted by many” – Spinoza

WordPower: BEWARE, in the LAST DAYS People Will Be WILLINGLY IGNORANT

Baruch: “Not only is DECEPTION of the church possible, it WAS PROPHESIED TO HAPPEN!” — Jesus said “IN THE LAST DAYS THE MAJORITY WILL BE DECEIVED, take heed that it doesn’t happen to you” — “FALSE TEACHERS are actually SPEAKING SPELLS with the words of their FALSE DOCTRINES!”

Asbury Revival, 1970: “‘Dr. Kinlaw, I am a liar. Now what do I do?’ … Three days later, she came to me radiant, and she said, ‘Dr. Kinlaw, I’m free!’” Many need to get right with people they’ve hurt to be free! Then God can move!

The Welsh Revival of 1904-05 by J. Edwin Orr: A Countrywide Asbury-like REVIVAL! The 4 Points: #1 Confess any known sin, and put any wrong done to man right again. #2 Put away any doubtful habit. #3 Obey the Spirit promptly. #4 Confess your faith publicly.

Can ‘Christians’ use Paul’s “Forgetting the things which are behind…I press on” statement as an excuse to not get right with those they’ve hurt? Paul also said: “I also practice ALWAYS having a conscience void of offense toward God and men.” What if you don’t repent? And what will happen when you do? The Third Great Awakening can start with us!!! We can all be happy — ‘ONE’!

My 1990 Key-to-Revival Prophecy: “There is might and there is power and there is glory, but it is being withheld until these relationships are made right, until we love our brother enough to…”

[ video – The MOST BEAUTIFUL SONG! ] Benny Hester: “When God Ran”

3 thoughts on “The meaning of “Grace” (χαρις) in the Bible: It’s not what you think? — ‘Grace’ is God giving us the Holy Spirit Who gives us the POWER TO OVERCOME SIN!

    1. Hello,

      Thanks for the question. I had to do some digging, but this ends up mainly focusing on one of my favorite passages of all time — the passage that kept me from falling into the once-saved-always-trap, 35 years ago! Praise God!

      In the Old Testament, the Spirit of grace is found in Zechariah 12:10. I’ll focus on what the term means in the New Testament example, Hebrews 10:29.

      You may be interested in this chart, which shows various names for the Holy Spirit and the scripture references, in which the Spirit of grace is listed.

      The following is from my article, Who-Goes-To-Heaven Scriptures — Narrow is the Way | Who are the Children of God? I highlight grace in blue.

      I found Hebrews 10:26 in 1975 as a senior in high school, having just a few months earlier made a serious decision to live my life for Christ. I read through the entire New Testament to see if what a friend told me about eternal security is true. This cinched it for me, and I quoted Hebrews 10:26 often, back then, trying to help others see.

      Obedience being necessary for salvation was already clearly laid out five chapters earlier in Hebrews 5:

      7 He [Christ], in the days of his flesh, having offered up prayers and petitions with strong crying and tears to him who was able to save him from death, and having been heard for his godly fear, 8 though he was a Son, yet learned obedience by the things which he suffered. 9 Having been made perfect, he became to all of those who obey him the author of eternal salvation….

      Hebrews 10:26-39

      26 For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and a fierceness of fire which will devour the adversaries. 28 A man who disregards Moses’ law dies without compassion on the word of two or three witnesses. 29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will he be judged worthy of, who has trodden under foot the Son of God, and has counted the blood of the covenant with which he was sanctified an unholy thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace? 30 For we know him who said, “Vengeance belongs to me,” says the Lord, “I will repay.” Again, “The Lord will judge his people.” 31 It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. 32 But remember the former days, in which, after you were enlightened, you endured a great struggle with sufferings; 33 partly, being exposed to both reproaches and oppressions; and partly, becoming partakers with those who were treated so. 34 For you both had compassion on me in my chains, and joyfully accepted the plundering of your possessions, knowing that you have for yourselves a better possession and an enduring one in the heavens. 35 Therefore don’t throw away your boldness, which has a great reward. 36 For you need endurance so that, having done the will of God, you may receive the promise. 37 “In a very little while, He who comes will come, and will not wait. 38 But the righteous will live by faith. [Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11] If he shrinks back, my soul has no pleasure in him.” 39 But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the saving of the soul.

      Hebrews 12 continues the strong theme. Notice how the word grace is used in verses 15 and 28. Without sanctification no man will see the Lord. And please consider the disqualifier: any root of bitterness — an unforgiving heart — unless we forgive men and women their sins against us we can’t be forgiven (The Lord’s Prayer, shown further down):

      14 Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man will see the Lord, 15 looking carefully lest there be any man who falls short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and many be defiled by it; 16 lest there be any sexually immoral person, or profane person, like Esau, who sold his birthright for one meal. 17 For you know that even when he afterward desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for a change of mind though he sought it diligently with tears. …

      25 See that you don’t refuse him who speaks. For if they didn’t escape when they refused him who warned on the Earth, how much more will we not escape who turn away from him who warns from heaven, 26 whose voice shook the earth then, but now he has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” signifies the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that have been made, that those things which are not shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, receiving a Kingdom that can’t be shaken, let us have grace, through which we serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.

      The idea of losing our birthright (verse 16-17) is similar to having our “names removed from the Book of Life” (Rev. 3:1-60). …

      By looking at these texts, it’s pretty clear that the Holy Spirit empowers and enables us to serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe and holiness — overcoming sin.

      If we become born-again and then willfully ignore His leadings, willfully sinning (10:26), then we insult the Holy Spirit of grace (10:29) and are in a prodigal state in which Jesus’ blood no longer protects us (10:26b, 27). We then must repent to come back safely in His arms, where we belong, forever — which is supposed to be normal Christianity — but seems so rare today.

      [video – The MOST BEAUTIFUL SONG!] Benny Hester: “When God Ran”

      We must remain in Him according to what Roman 8:1 really says, which I also explain in Who-Goes… The NIV and other Westcott/Hort-based texts are robbing us of the truth. They removed Romans 8:1b.

      Hope this helps.

      Power to the peaceful!

      Jeff Fenske : )

      Like

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