An Insight into Grace By Babatunde Olugboji
Someone once described the doctrine of the grace of God as “The very centre and core of the whole Bible.” It is a word that is thrown around a lot, especially in church and among believers. Sometimes we even use it to excuse our bad behaviour, as if God condones bad behaviour.
But what does it mean? We will seek to answer this question in the next couple of weeks, as we dissect the concept of God’s grace.
Grace has been variously defined as free sovereign favour to the ill-deserving; love that cares, stoops, and rescues; God reaching downward to people who are in rebellion against Him; and unconditional love toward a person who does not deserve it.
Simply put, grace is “unmerited favour” or “unconditional love.” While this is a great definition, the problem is that we still have to unwrap it and sort of define the definition.
First, let’s start with the word “unmerited.” This means the gift and the act of giving have nothing at all to do with our merit or innate quality (Romans 4:4; 11:5–6; 2 Timothy 1:9–10). The Bible clearly states that we don’t deserve God’s salvation. “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. . . . While we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His son.” (Romans 5:8–10)
To merit something means to earn it or deserve it. For example, a child may merit a special treat by his or her good behaviour or by running errands.
In the Boy Scouts of America, young boys can earn “Merit Badges” by showing that they can excel in some tasks. Boy Scouts cannot earn these badges unless they have completed the required activities, thus meriting the badge. So, “unmerited” therefore means to receive something that you did not earn or deserve. In the same way “unconditional” means that something is not limited by conditions, such as our good behavior.
So, what is it that you receive that is unmerited? According to our basic definition of grace, you receive unmerited “favor.” Favor is something good being given to you or an act of kindness, like someone helping you. To be favored by someone means that someone supports you. The word “favorite” comes from the word “favored” and it means “the one you favor the most.”
To favor someone means to like or help him or her. Grace then is getting something nice that you have not earned or deserve. When you receive grace, you are given something better than what you deserve.
So how does God demonstrate his grace? God shows grace to us through his son, Jesus Christ. On the cross, Jesus took all the punishment that we deserved and placed it on Himself. On the cross, Jesus gave us the gift of a relationship with God, something that we cannot earn by ourselves, nor do we deserve. God loves his children so much that He shows them grace by Christ taking away all of the punishment that we should have received for disobeying God and giving us good gifts instead.
This week, God’s grace shall speak for you, in the name of Jesus.
Have a great week.
Kingdom Dynamics, a weekly column written by Dr. Babatunde Olugboji, the President, Kingdom House, a non-profit organization in New Jersey, USA.