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Monday
Feb162009

Theological Term of the Week

grace
God’s unmerited favor toward the undeserving and ill-deserving; God giving sinners better than they deserve.

  • From scripture:
    But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. (Romans 11:6 ESV)
    For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9 ESV)
    …all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…. (Romans 3:23-24 ESV)
  • From Loraine Boettner, Salvation By Grace:

    Time and again the Scriptures repeat the assertion that salvation is of grace, as if anticipating the difficulty which men would have in coming to the conclusion that they could not earn salvation by their own works. Thus also they destroy the widespread notion that God owes salvation to any. “By grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; not of works, that no man should glory,” Eph. 2:8, 9. “But if it is of grace, it is no more of works; otherwise grace is no more grace,” Rom. 11:6. “By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified,” Rom. 3:20. “Now to him that worketh, the reward is not reckoned as of grace, but as of debt,” Born. 4:4. “Who maketh thee to differ? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive?” I Cor. 4:7. “By the grace of God I am what I am,” I Cor. 15:10. “Who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?” Born. 11:35. “The free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,” Rom. 6:23.

    Grace and works are mutually exclusive; and as well might we try to bring the two poles together as to effect a coalition of grace and works in salvation. As well might we talk of a “purchased gift,” as to talk of “conditional grace,” for when grace ceases to be absolute it ceases to be grace. Therefore when the Scriptures say that salvation is of grace we are to understand that it is through its whole process the work of God and that any truly meritorious works done by man are the result of the change which has already been wrought.

  • C. Samuel Storms in The Grandeur of God:

    The first and possibly most fundamental characteristic of divine grace is that it presupposes sin and guilt. Grace has meaning only when men are seen as fallen, unworthy of salvation, and liable to eternal wrath… Grace does not contemplate sinners merely as undeserving but as ill-deserving… It is not simply that we do not deserve grace; we do deserve hell.

Learn more:

  1. Bob Deffinbaugh: The Grace of God
  2. Bernie L. Gilespie: Questions About Grace
  3. Ian Hamilton: What Is Grace? (mp3)
  4. My own post: God’s Grace

Do you have a a theological term you’d like to see featured here as a Theological Term of the Week? If you email it to me, I’ll seriously consider using it, giving you credit for the suggestion and linking back to your blog when I do.

I’m also interested in any suggestions you have for tweaking my definitions or for additional (or better) articles or sermons/lectures for linking. Credit will be given for any of these suggestions I use, too.

Clicking on the Theological Term graphic at the top of this post will take you to a list of all the previous theological terms organized in alphabetical order or by topic.

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References (1)

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Reader Comments (3)

Have you ever done a post on "regeneration?" Or was it perhaps contained in the context of another term?

February 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim in On

Nope, I haven't yet. But I've been thinking about doing regeneration, sanctification, glorification, etc. I guess your question settles it.

February 17, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrebecca

Oh, goodie; I'll look forward to it.

February 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKim in On

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