Grace is the heart and soul of God in a biblical sense. The Greek word for grace is “charis,” which means “favor, blessing, or kindness.” We can all do and say nice things to one another and help others, but God’s grace takes on a life-changing, powerful meaning.

Grace is God lavishing blessings to the least deserving, which is every one of us.

Grace is God choosing to bless us rather than curse us as our sin deserves. It is His benevolence to the undeserving.

God’s grace was extended to Adam and Eve when they sinned in the garden. Because of their sin,  their relationship with God was broken. Adam and Eve, and all those who followed, deserved eternal death. Because of God’s grace, instead of killing both of them at that moment, He showed them that a blood sacrifice from a perfect lamb was needed to cover the sins of Adam and Eve and restore their relationship with God. God was introducing the future sacrifice of His Son for the forgiveness of all humankind’s sins. From that time on, sinful men showed their faith by offering the sacrifices that God required.

“First he said, “Sacrifices and offerings, burnt offerings and sin offerings you did not desire, nor were you pleased with them”—though they were offered in accordance with the law. Then he said, “Here I am, I have come to do your will.” He sets aside the first to establish the second. 1And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:8-10)

The apostle Paul wrote 13 of the 27 books in the New Testament. His testimony of being the worst of all sinners made him appreciate God’s gift of grace. He summarized the gospel of God’s grace as follows: “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief” (1 Timothy 1:15).

He wrote the book of Ephesians with a heart filled with gratitude for God’s grace. He opens the book with:

“Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ” (Ephesians 1:1-10).

God’s grace is His nature; therefore, it is always present and working whether or not we see or experience it. Everything we have, all that we are and do depends on God’s grace working in and through us. God’s intent before the beginning of time is for all He created to believe in His Son. With God’s gift of giving His Holy Spirit to all who believe, Christians can live with grateful hearts and minds for His glory by extending His grace to others.

In his book “Putting a Face on Grace,” Dr. Richard Blackaby writes that when we truly grasp grace’s depth, we would not dare withhold it from others.

“We are not called to just bathe in grace; we are called to shower it upon others. Grace has not been fully experienced until it is fully expressed to others. The deeper our understanding of grace, the more we see the necessity of making it the fabric of our Christian life.”

The following are a few ideas from Kathy Howard’s posts in her devotional on what it looks like when we live in grace.

  • Willing to be inconvenienced, ” walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:22).
  • Seeks the other person’s welfare: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves” (Philippians 2:3).
  • Speaks words that build up, not tear down: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen” (Ephesians 4:29).
  • Focus on others’ needs instead of our own: ”not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:4).
  • Acts with humility, not pride: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud” (1 Corinthians 13:4).
  • Freely forgives with no strings attached: “Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you” (Ephesians 4:31,32).
  • Does not expect a return on showing grace: “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men”(Luke 6:36).
  • Grace doesn’t overlook sin but encourages holiness. “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth” (1 Corinthians 13:6).

This list is challenging to live out even with the Holy Spirit living in us. Without the Holy Spirit, we it is impossible to live in grace. Living with grace toward others does not stop after a conversation or two. We must continue to serve whenever God calls us to do so. It is important to see people with whom we engage, as men and women who are deeply loved by God. As God perseveres with us, we, too, must persevere with no end date.