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Loving Goodness of God's Grace


Different faith communities, denominations and churches teach various ways about the grace of God. Some of the teachings are Biblical and some quite unbiblical. Grace of God is one of the most essential teachings of the Bible and therefore it is important to understand what the Bible teaches about the grace of God. I will try to go through what the Bible says about the grace of God. My article does not cover everything about God's grace, but deals with it from a few important angles. I am an imperfect and fallible man, so you should examine and test my writing with God's word and prayer.

Contents:
Meaning of the Hebrew word grace
God's grace is everlasting
Saved by the grace of God
God's throne of grace and the gift of righteousness
Grace and truth
Growing in the grace of God
Influence of God's grace is growing and increasing
Do not change God's grace into lasciviousness
The grace of God is sufficient

 

Meaning of the Hebrew word grace

In Hebrew the word chesed (חסד khesed) means grace. The word chased means grace, loving goodness, faithfulness and faithful love. The word chased (grace) includes the meaning faithfulness truth through love. Chesed (grace) also means an act of loving kindness and an act of grace where helping others happen without seeking payment or benefit. Burial of a Jew is called chesed shel emet (chesed shel emes), which means an act of loving goodness that the recipient cannot repay in any way.

Bible teaching about God's grace means an act of God's loving goodness that man cannot make up or repay in any way. God's loving grace also includes God's faithful love which happens to truth when God in His grace loves people.

God's grace is everlasting

Psalm 89:
1 ¶ « Maschil of Ethan the Ezrahite. » I will sing of the mercies (chesed) of the LORD for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.
2 For I have said, Mercy (chesed) shall be built up for ever: thy faithfulness shalt thou establish in the very heavens.
3 I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant,
4 Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah.
5 ¶ And the heavens shall praise thy wonders, O LORD: thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints.
..........................................................
13 Thou hast a mighty arm: strong is thy hand, and high is thy right hand.
14 Justice and judgment are the habitation of thy throne: mercy and truth shall go before thy face.
15 ¶ Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of thy countenance.
16 In thy name shall they rejoice all the day: and in thy righteousness shall they be exalted.
17 For thou art the glory of their strength: and in thy favour our horn shall be exalted.

God's acts of grace are done through God's faithfulness, truth and loving goodness. The Bible teaches that the grace of God is everlasting, and that it is everlasting because it is based on the faithfulness of God. God's grace strengthens His people because God's arm is full of strength of loving goodness. God's kingdom is based on righteousness and justice because it is built upon grace and truth. When a person understands the loving goodness of God's grace and the faithfulness of God's grace by love of truth, he feels the joy of the feast in his heart (shouting of joy) and wants to walk in the light of God's word and strength. When a believer learns to rejoice in God's acts of grace every day, the righteous power of God raises him, which means walking in righteousness and growing in it. God is the strength of those who believe in Him, He makes them beautiful, and God in His grace raises their horns (their strength), in other words teaches them to walk in this world in the will of God. According to the Bible a horn is a symbol of strength. Psalm 89:17 means that the strength of a righteous person to believe in God and to walk according to His will comes from God, for all godliness and all godly acts are from God and are acts of God in a man's heart.

Saved by the grace of God

Eph 2:
1 ¶ And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4 ¶ But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Through faith in the Lord Jesus, God saved and made alive (spiritually) man, who in the state of godlessness carried in his heart death for his sins, because as a slave of satan and sin he was disobedient, walking in the lust and sins of flesh. In His great love, loving people, God in His grace made believers of Jesus spiritually alive, because God saves a man by grace through faith in Jesus the Lord. God has woken up a man by grace through faith in Jesus the Lord (in original text lifted up or lifted up together) and placed the believers in the heavens in Messiah the Lord. God's word promises to us that in the coming eternal Kingdom we can be with God and His exceeding riches of God's grace in His kindness toward us through the Lord Jesus. It is worth to walk in the way of contention and abide in the Lord Jesus, because our future is eternal life with God and see Him face to face and the life in the eternal Kingdom of the love with the Father God and Jesus. The sufferings that we have to face in this world are short moments compared to eternal life with God. Therefore, cleave to the Lord Jesus, because the end of your faith is the salvation of your soul and everlasting joy with God.

The Bible teaches that salvation is the grace of God, and we cannot save ourselves by our deeds, because the base of our salvation is in the atonement of the Lord Jesus. A believer cannot in any way pay for his salvation, he cannot earn his salvation by his deeds, because it is a gift from God, which is given for the atonement of the Lord Jesus. God's act of grace, man's salvation through faith in Lord Jesus, leads a believer to live and walk in Jesus Christ in the good deeds that God has before ordained, so that those that are believers for the grace of God would walk in the will of God in this world.

God's throne of grace and the gift of righteousness

Romans 3:
20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.
21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;
22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:
23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

The old covenant was exemplary and prophetic and it was and is fulfilled by the Lord Jesus and the salvation that happened through His blood on the cross. During the old covenant a high priest went into the most holy once a year and sprinkled sacrificial blood over the mercy seat for forgiveness of sins. The Lord Jesus is the High Priest and the mercy seat of the New Covenant and therefore blood stained the body of Jesus so that you and I could be forgiven our sins through faith in Him. The Lord Jesus is the fulfilling of the mercy seat of the old covenant, because Jesus is the mercy seat of God. The mercy seat of the old covenant was an example of the Lord Jesus, whose blood, death and resurrection are the base of the salvation. The gospel is not only a message about dead of Jesus, but about the death of Jesus for forgiveness of sins, because Jesus lives, as He rose from the death. The grave was empty, because Jesus is alive. The Lord Jesus can forgive your sins because He lives and sits at the right side of His Father in the Kingdom of God.

The Bible teaches that everyone is without the glory of God, because all ungodly men are slaves of sin and satan. God's law shows a man his sinfulness and causes a need in his heart to receive salvation. As the grace of God through faith in the Lord Jesus a man is given the righteousness of God, and salvation through redemption that is in the Lord Jesus. When a man confesses his sins to God and when he repents his sins and believes in the Lord Jesus, God gives him a share in salvation, forgiveness of sins and eternal life. The Lord Jesus is God's mercy seat, salvation through the blood of Jesus for everyone who believes in Him. Obedience of the Lord Jesus and His atonement are the base of God's grace and salvation. Loving goodness of God's grace comes true perfectly in the Lord Jesus, through whom we receive salvation by the grace of God through the blood of the Lord Jesus.

Grace and truth

Psalm 25:10 All the paths of the LORD are mercy (chesed) and truth (emeth) unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies.

The grace of God does not support or accept sin in the least. The grace of God holds on to truth and guides a believer in God to live and walk in truth and to reject sins. The Hebrew word emeth means truth, faithfulness, strength, endurance and certainty. The word emeth comes from the Hebrew verb aman, which means to believe, to be sure, to be faithful, to support, to strengthen.

The loving goodness of God, in other words the grace of God brings the truth into a believer's life, causes faithfulness and obedience towards God, causes strength and certainty of faith, and endurance. In the New Covenant God supports and strengthens a believer through the truth of His grace in the Holy Spirit. God is gracious and full of loving goodness, that is perfect, as God is faithful and truthful, and He in His grace and truth supports and strengthens a believer to live and to walk in this world according to the will of God. The grace and truth of God guides a believer to believe and to hold on to the evidence of the word of God and of the promises and teachings of the Covenant of God.

A godless person will not be part of God's grace because the grace of God is only for those who humble themselves and repent, regret their sins, confess their sins and believe in the Lord Jesus. The covenant that God made with man leads a believer to the grace of God and to its circle of influence. God's covenant is a covenant of grace and especially the New Covenant is God's covenant of grace because it is based on eternal forgiveness of sins and a share of eternal life through the blood of the Lord Jesus.

John 1:
10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.
11 He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
13 Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
15 ¶ John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me.
16 And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.
17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
18 No man hath seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him

The Word, or in other words, God became flesh (a man) in the Lord Jesus, who was and is full of God's glory and grace and truth. According to the Bible a believer, through being filled with the Lord Jesus, is given grace upon grace, overflowing grace of God. Through Moses the law was given, but grace and truth have come through Messiah Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus is the real expression of God's grace, through whom man is given the gift of salvation (through faith in Jesus), that separates a believer from sin and sanctifies a believer to live and to walk in grace and truth the way God wants. The life of faith is a process of growing faith, in which a believer is constantly learning more deeply to live and to walk in God's will and to trust God and His promises.

Growing in the grace of God

Titus 2:
11 ¶ For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,
12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works
.

The loving goodness of the grace of God appears as salvation for all people through faith in the Lord Jesus. The loving goodness of the grace of God brings a believer up so that he puts away godlessness and worldly lusts (sins and wrongs), because sin destroys a man completely and fully and forever without faith in the Lord Jesus. The loving goodness of the grace of God does not allow a believer to remain in slavery of sin, because sin destroys and pollutes everything where the tentacles of sin reach. This is why the loving goodness of the grace of God brings a believer up, to live and to walk in faith of God soberly, righteously, godly, and according the truth of God's word, because it is the only shield against the destructive force of sin.

The loving goodness of the grace of God does not leave man to sin, wrongness or wrong teachings, because the loving goodness of the grace of God does not favor or support sin, wrongness or wrong teachings, because they destroy a man's life. The loving goodness of the grace of God removes sin and all wrongness from a believer's life. The loving goodness of the grace of God equals the truth of God's word. God's grace never in any way supports sin or things that are against God's will.

Influence of God's grace is growing and increasing

1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

The blood of the Lord Jesus and a share of forgiveness of sins through faith in Jesus makes us God's children, which leads us to life sanctified by the Holy Spirit, which causes obedience of faith. Life sanctified by God, and obedience of faith increase the effects of God's grace and peace to a believer. The influence of God's grace should increase and grow in the heart of a believer through sanctification of the Holy Spirit and through obedience of faith. Influence of God's grace, in other words His loving goodness, increase constantly in the life of a believer if he agrees to die to deeds of flesh and puts away sin and wrong teachings about God and about His word.

2 Peter 1:
2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:
4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

The more a believer learns to know Lord Jesus through faith, the more the effects of God's grace and peace increase in his heart. The grace of God, in other words His loving goodness has given us everything one needs for life and godliness.

In His grace God gave Lord Jesus as a gift of salvation through the blood and atonement. In His grace God gave the Holy Spirit in a believer's heart as strength to live sanctified life and to grow in faith and to reject sin. God in His grace gave us his word (the Bible - Word of God), which teaches us how to serve God and what is God's will and the true teaching of the word of God. The glory and perfection of God guarantee that His precious and great promises give a believer a right to become a part of godly nature (that we straighten up in the Holy Spirit, according to the truth of God's word), because of which we have a chance to be saved from corruption of sin, which dominates the world due to lust, and, instead, we learn, through growing in faith through the grace of God more and more deeply to live according to God's will.

Do not change God's grace into lasciviousness

Gal 5:
2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
7 Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
8 This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.
9 A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

Galatians, chapter 5 tells that a believer cannot become righteous, or be saved through the old covenant at the time of the New Covenant, where the focus of faith is the atonement of the Lord Jesus, and righteousness as a gift, and being saved as an act of grace. An attempt to be saved and to become righteous through the old covenant is to fall away from God's grace (loving goodness). In New Covenant salvation and becoming righteous happens through faith in the Lord Jesus, not through the order of the old covenant.

All heresy and wrong teachings take a believer away from the grace of God leading him to a road that is full of achievements and demands of sin, which lead a believer away from God's grace and truth. A little leaven sours the whole dough, in other words, even a small heresy can lead a believer into a great and large delusion and even away from salvation, if one, for example, trusts his own deeds to grant salvation, or sets another one or more ways to salvation besides Jesus. Examine and test with the word of God, everything that is said to be from God, so you may be able to avoid getting lost from grace and truth.

There is a teaching nowadays about returning to Jewish roots, which, in some cases, may lead away from salvation and to the abandonment of the Lord Jesus if and when a person begins to follow the order of the old covenant. The right and Biblical returning and restoring means returning to Godly roots, in other words true Biblical teaching according to the order of the New Covenant. We have to believe in God, because the Bible teaches to people from God's word about how salvation is through faith in the Lord Jesus and how a believer should believe in the Lord Jesus.

Faith, caused by God's love, in the Lord Jesus leads to obedience of truth. Faith, caused by love, in the Lord Jesus through the obedience of truth (to believe, according to the truth of the word of the Bible), is the most important element of faith when it comes to growing in faith and to how a believer should believe in the Lord Jesus.

Hebr 12:
4 ¶ Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.
5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

Bitterness in a believer's heart can lead to him losing his share of the grace of God, which can eventually lead completely away from salvation. God's grace guides a believer in peace with his neighbors and into sanctification. If there is bitterness in one's heart, it pollutes one's own heart and tends to pollute the heart of others. Forgiveness is a necessity for a believer, because bitterness, without repentance, can lead away from salvation. One has to do penance from bitterness, because bitterness is not a result of God's grace and love, but one of satan's most powerful destructive weapons against the man.

Matthew 6:
14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

When a person begins to believe in the Lord Jesus through grace of God, God forgives his sins because God is graceful and merciful, and because of His loving goodness forgives sins of a person who regrets, confesses and repents his sins. Because a believer has been forgiven his sins, the Holy Spirit that lives in you works in you both to will and to do of God's good pleasure and gives you the strength to forgive the evil deeds of your neighbor, and causes a believer to apologize his own faults towards his neighbors. Bitterness can indeed be a sin leading to damnation unless one repents. God is great to help you and me and gives us strength to forgive, so that we can put away the sin of bitterness from our heart and instead learn to love our neighbors from a pure heart, even those who have hurt us badly.

Hebr 13:
8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.
9 Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein.

The Bible verses above speak about the food regulations of the old covenant, regarding clean and unclean foods (meat). Only the salvation of the Lord Jesus brings eternal cleansing from sins and the food regulations of the old covenant do not have the power of eternal cleansing and therefore they are not useful for men.

One can also understand the previous Bible verses more widely, as many kinds of wrong teachings that are not useful for man, but instead take him further away from God's grace and truth, because of which wrong teaching destroys and breaks a person's heart and mind in many ways. It would be good if the heart and mind of a believer were strengthened in the truth by the grace of God, because it protects his heart from the destructive forces of sin and guides a believer in the deep knowing of God and helps and teaches him to grow in faith according to God's will.

Jude 1:
3 ¶ Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.

The letter of Jude tells about godless people who have infiltrated into a congregation and pretend to be disciples of the Lord Jesus even though they are not. In their godlessness and faithlessness they distort God's grace into lasciviousness. For example, in the Scandinavian Lutheran churches, many bishops, priests and church workers think homosexuality is a normal form of sexuality, even though, according to the teaching of God's word it is a damnable sin. There are also employees in the Lutheran church who have not been born again, nor believe in the Lord Jesus, do not believe in Jesus' virginal birth, etc. Those kind of people have turned the grace of God into lasciviousness and deny the Lordship and Divinity of Jesus Messiah.

The grace of God also means faithfulness in truth through God's love, which means that God's grace and truth are indivisible and work together. Because God's grace and truth have effect together, every wrong teaching or every act or effect of the false spirit distorts the grace of God and even try to turn God's grace into lasciviousness. Let us not give up or follow wrong teachings or false demonic effects, but let us believe in the Lord Jesus, as the Bible says, because it is real grace of God.

The grace of God is sufficient

2 Cor 12:
7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

God acted powerfully through Paul's ministry and therefore God, let an angel of satan to buffet him, so that he would not grow proud. The apostle Paul had prayed the Lord that a thorn placed in his flesh would be taken away. God answered him and said: 'My grace is sufficient for you: for my (God) strength is made perfect in weakness.' God's power becomes perfect in a believer's life when a believer is weak by himself and understands that he cannot win sin by his own strength, but needs help and power from God, and a believer has to understand that he cannot walk in righteousness and according to God's will by his own strength but needs God's help and power. A believer does not become perfect, but when a believer agrees and learns to surrender more and more to the influence of God's Holy Spirit, God's perfection effects a believer carrying and lifting him and helping him to grow in faith into deeper and deeper knowing of God. God's grace, in other words His loving goodness and truthful faithfulness and love is sufficient for a believer, because God's grace includes perfect godliness and its effects.

In 2 Cor 12:9 the word 'sufficient' is in Greek 'arkeo', which means sufficient, to be enough, to be content, to be satisfied. According to the teaching of the word of the Bible the grace of God is sufficient for a believer because a believer is by the grace of God given salvation, forgiveness of sins, share of the Holy Spirit and eternal life. We should see God's grace, widely because it is the base of everything in a believer's life. All that God does to a believer, He does for grace, in other words, through loving goodness, because He is truthful and faithful in His love towards man. We should be contented and grateful for God's grace, because it is enough and includes everything a believer needs. In fact, God's grace is such a great thing that it cannot be described perfectly in a human language, because it cannot be understood until in the New Jerusalem, where man is a target of God's perfect love eternally through grace of God.

John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

John 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Grace and truth have come through the Lord Jesus and therefore the influence of Jesus' grace and truth should grow in a believer's heart and a believer himself must decrease and Jesus must increase.

Gal 2:
16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.
17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.
18 For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor.
19 For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God.
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
21 I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

A believer does not become righteous nor is saved through acts of the law, not acts of the flesh, but by the grace of God through faith in the Lord Jesus. It is the effect of God's grace that a believer no longer lives according to his own will, but what he lives in the body of flesh, he should live through faith in God's Son (by believing in Jesus as Jesus was obedient to His Father), for the Lord Jesus loves us and died for us on the cross on Calvary. Therefore, we must not invalidate the grace of God by trusting the acts of the law or acts of the flesh, because then the Lord Jesus would have died for us for nothing. But it is not so, as no man can in any way save himself, because only the Lord Jesus was and is able to save everyone who believes in Him. The loving goodness of God's grace and the faithfulness in the love of truth has come true and takes effect through the Lord Jesus. Praise to God the Father through the Lord Jesus for His overflowing grace, grace towards those that have been saved.

 

 

Petri Paavola from Finland

References:
33/38 Raamattu
Finnish Bible
Biblia 1776
Finnish Bible
King James version 1611
 


 

 

 

 





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