We often define “grace” as “undeserved favor.” But the grace of God has another meaning in the Bible that is filled with encouragement and comfort.
What is grace? It seems like a simple question, but the answer has a lot of different angles to it. It is a recent email from a podcast listener named Heather. “Hello, Pastor John! I’m shy to ask this question because I’m embarrassed to admit that I struggle to understand one of the most commonly used words in the church today. That word is ‘grace.’ I often hear it defined as ‘unmerited favor’ or ‘getting what you don’t deserve.’ And I do understand it this way in the context of Ephesians 2:8: ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.’
“But I don’t understand it in the context of texts like 2 Corinthians 12:9: ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Or 1 Corinthians 15:10: ‘But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.’ I don’t understand ‘grace’ in these verses. Can you explain it to me?”