I have one mantra in the Christian life – If we ain’t got grace, we ain’t got nothin’! Yes, grace is amazing! I experienced the saving grace of God in 1987. I also experience His grace daily in my life in more ways than I can count!
For all this and more, I’m eternally grateful.
Today, being Thanksgiving, I thank God for grace, His grace!
That word “lovingkindness” is the Hebrew word chesed. It’s one of the most important words in the Old Testament, where it’s used well over 200 times. Chesed reveals much about God’s character. In simple terms, it refers to God’s persistent and unconditional tenderness, kindness, grace and mercy, as He seeks out a relationship with man.
I like one bible scholars’ description. He writes: “Chesed generally denotes the Divine Love condescending to His creatures, more especially to sinners, in unmerited kindness.” As believers in Jesus we would associate chesed with God’s grace and mercy. Grace is getting something you don’t deserve, as in forgiveness. Mercy is not getting something you do deserve – as in judgment and wrath!
The Greek word for grace found in the New Testament is “charis.” This use of “charis” in the New Testament is arguably the single most important aspect of our spiritual and eternal salvation – for God gives it to us is completely and totally unmerited. And how do we receive His Grace – through faith in Jesus, Who, in John 1:14, is described as “full of grace.”
While most of the New Testament writers use “grace” at some point, Paul makes the greatest use of it. The seven other writers together use the word about fifty times, while Paul alone uses it roughly 100 times.
For example, Paul wrote, in Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 3:24, of the wonder of God’s grace through our saving faith found in Christ Jesus:
“For by grace (charis) you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8-9
“and all are justified freely by his grace (charis) through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” – Romans 3:24
As Philip Yancey wrote in his book, What’s So Amazing About Grace? – “Grace means there is nothing I can do to make God love me more, and nothing I can do to make God love me less. It means that I, even I who deserve the opposite, am invited to take my place at the table in God’s family.”
And we could go on and on about God’s grace…
On this Thanksgiving you and I give thanks to the “God of all grace” (1 Peter 5:10). Yet our testimony to God’s grace can and should also extend beyond a holiday – for an attitude of gratitude is good for the heart and a powerful testimony to others who’ve not yet experienced His saving grace – on this day and everyday!
May you and yours have a joy-filled and Christ-centered Thanksgiving, reflecting on the giver of life, breath and all good gifts – giving thanks to the God of all grace! Amen.