How do you define grace?

On yesterday’s broadcast, I asked listeners to call the program and share their definition of grace. William from Livermore, CA defined grace as God’s act to justify us, or to make us right in His sight. He is spot on, but even so, there is so much more that can be said.

I would like to read your thoughts. So please, join the conversation. I plan to share some of your definitions on today’s broadcast. We air each day at 3:30 PM central time. Tune us in on your local station, or listen online at

In light of the question, here are some of my thoughts on grace.

Today, believers are being challenged to take a fresh look at the grace of God. Lives are being changed. Worn-out Christians are letting go of their legalistic ways and are embracing new life in Christ. But whenever grace takes the lead, critics follow.

These critics drone away about believers taking grace too far and using it as a license to sin. According to them, grace needs to be balanced by law and obedience. How else will believers behave properly? The critics don’t want grace to be removed from the vocabulary, just softened somewhat.

This leads to the question; “What exactly is grace?”

Grace cannot be separated from Jesus Christ. It is wrapped up in Him. He is the One who is full of grace and truth. When we look to Him and His work on our behalf, we see grace in action.

Paul described that work in his letter to the Ephesians: “But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:4). So what is grace? It is God’s act to make us, who were dead in sin, alive with Christ. Grace is far more than a covering for sin. It is the implantation of Christ’s life in us.

The Complete Word Study Dictionary defines “grace” this way: that which causes joy, pleasure, gratification, favor, acceptance for a kindness granted or desired. It is a favor done without expectation of return; the absolutely free expression of the loving kindness of God to men finding its only motive in the bounty and benevolence of the Giver.

God’s absolutely free expression of loving kindness to us is life, His life. That’s grace.

Now, it’s your turn. What is your definition of grace? In what ways has God’s grace made a difference in your life?

Join the conversation and be sure to listen to today’s radio broadcast. I’ll see you on the air.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

26 thoughts on “How do you define grace?

  1. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve.
    In Christ, God did for us what we couldn’t do ourselves.

  2. The Complete Word Study Dictionary defines “grace” this way: that which causes joy, pleasure, gratification, favor, acceptance for a kindness granted or desired.

    I think the dictionary left out a couple of characteristics. Graces causes contentment, security and hope.
    You mentioned that critics immediately want to accuse us of claiming a license to sin, but we know nothing could be farther from the truth. If the critics only knew…if they could only feel… if they only had. Having been on both sides of the spectrum, I’ll take grace any day of the week.
    What is grace?
    Grace is God’s love for us.

  3. Grace is the fierce, strong, shocking, surprising, heart-melting, intentional pursuit of God in giving us what we really need, even if that differs from what we thought we needed.

  4. I concur with Jihn Newton…”amazing grace how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now I’m found was blind but now I see.”
    Grace is the essence of God… an attribute of God…the nature of God…the love of God. Grace tore heaven and the vale of seperation. Grace reconciled us to God even though we don’t deserve it. Our salvation is by grace, wrapped in grace and lived by grace. Grace is God humbleing Himself to become man and die for man, so that He could put His grace in us and be partakers in the divine nature, a people of grace. Grace is the whole ball of wax. Grace is Galatians 2:20…”the life (given by gace) I live is by faith”. Save by faith through grace… live by faith through grace. I’m barley scratching the surface. Grace is also wrapped in love and love is infused by grace. Grace is beyond defining. Grace is, dare I say, Jesus Christ…God Himself.

  5. Grace is all of what I don’t deserve. A new abundant life where Christ takes my sins, addictions, strongholds and delivers me from them as He teaches me to surrender all for Him. How can it be that He would die for me? Amazing Love!

  6. As you already said Bob, most all of the answers from the listeners to your question are spot on, however, some people find abstract ideas hard to grasp or too vague to understand, so I wanted to add a little stretch to the definition by adding a personification aspect to Grace (agreeing with Neil’s post above) and making it relevant to people’s life….Grace is Christ Himself! Simply replace the word Grace with Christ and see how Bible reads differently.

  7. Grace is Jesus Christ.
    He forgave us completely.
    He saves us completely.
    He maintains us in our Christian walk; it is Jesus Christ who teaches us to say no to ungodliness.
    He makes us righteous in the sight of God.

    So to me the Grace of God is what saves us, sustains us and will eventually bring us into the presences of God with we leave this earthly shell. And that grace is not a thing but a person; Jesus Christ.

  8. Great subject! Agreeing…if grace is an attribute or characteristic of God, can God’s attributes be separated from His person? John writes that God is love, not loving. Can the same be said that God is not gracious, but grace? Are we saved by Jesus, or grace? And if they are not one and the same we really do need to define or at least get a grasp of grace for saving faith. I believe, trust, faith that Jesus’ death burial and resurrection are for me and Jesus is my savior, Jesus himself, his life is sufficent not some ambiguous doctrine.

    • Neil, Major Ian Thomas warned about separating grace from Jesus. The phrase “the grace message” was always a burr under his saddle. He preferred “the Jesus message.”

  9. Christians must not view grace as a Christian “benefit” separated or detached from the Being and activity of Jesus Christ. Grace is the direct dynamic of deity. It is the risen and living Lord Jesus functioning in and through Christian people.

    The connection of grace with the resurrection of Christ has seldom been noted, despite the fact that numerous New Testament texts link resurrection and grace. Paul writes that Christ Jesus “was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead…through whom we have received grace…” (Rom. 1:4). “Jesus…was raised because of our justification…, through whom we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand…” (Rom. 4:25; 5:2). In light of the historic resurrection of Jesus Christ we see that grace is the dynamic activity of God by the life of the risen Lord Jesus. The Christian life, the life of the risen Lord Jesus lived out in us, is only lived by the dynamic of God’s grace. The grace of the resurrection-life of Jesus is the essence of the Christian gospel. This was the desire of Paul, to know “the dynamic of His (Christ’s) resurrection” (Phil. 3:10

    • Matthew, well said. Love your connection of grace and resurrection. God raising us from the dead spiritually is grace.

  10. Thanks for the thought provoking question. Daily reminders about the single most important aspect of my earthly walk (my thought life), helps me make it through the day spending the inheritance that God has blest me with in Christ. It’s pretty tough to quantify infinite love. The unconditional, non-changing and ever hopeful way God sees me because of what He has done is really mind boggling. My BC (before Christ) life left trails of darkness and all sorts of earthly wreckage which has taken some time for me to clean up. A large part of my new spiritual identity has to do with forgiveness, but the aspect of grace that is the most impacting on my life is that He has taken up residency in this aging vessel and allowed me to participate in a spiritual scavenger hunt. Almost on a daily basis there is an opportunity to share about the availability to dance without looking at my feet because of what Jesus has completed on mankind’s behalf. I just need to be attentive to the opportunities that God is always presenting. Let’s boogie on and never forget to contemplate how amazing grace truly is. Teeth are created to chew with and to stick out as we pick up our messages. Joy to you and thanks again; march on brother… 2Cor.5:21 (NLT)!

  11. Some might think we have “cheap grace” today as a means of a free pass to get out of going to hell. Others think that the Grace of God is earned or obtained through their own actions. Others may think the Grace of God is separated by what is termed in Catholic theology as “sanctifying grace” and “actual grace.”

    Some in this world want to be living under both the old and the new covenants and lack understanding of the differences between the two, and also do not understand the differences between Law and Grace. Others in this world are thinking that a person has to get their life cleaned up or at least partially clean, by making an effort to get their lives cleaned up before receiving Christ.

    There is no such thing as “cheap grace,” not even from man’s standpoint. God’s Grace is not cheap in any sense of the word. Grace can not be earned. It can not be bought or sold, and God’s True Grace can not be cheapened. In fact, I submit that the phrase “cheap grace” used by some is a straw man argument, gets us off of Truth, and goes totally against the Grace of God. There is nothing a person can offer, do or not do, or say to God to “get” grace.

    So, what is grace? Ultimately the Grace of God is made manifest and demonstrated in the person and work of Jesus, God in the flesh, who took away the sins of the world.

    The Grace of God is freely offered to all men, to be received by individual men.

    Grace from God’s standpoint cost everything. Grace from man’s standpoint is an unmerited gift from God. Grace is all God and none of us.

    Here is God’s Grace in Action

    “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

    Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:6-11)

    Sharing the Good News

    “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:18-21)

  12. Grace: God takes the prostitute,cleanses her,veiws her as a virgin,then takes her as his bride.

  13. this verse in 2Corinthians has always been a favorite…..
    But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. Just can’t help smile about this because it covers every thing….every where in our lives…and all over planet earth…..what a joy to listen to you all and the passion He has given you to proclaim His Truth

  14. For your study

    5485. χάρις cháris; gen. cháritos, fem. noun from chaírō (5463), to rejoice. Grace, particularly that which causes joy, pleasure, gratification, favor, acceptance, for a kindness granted or desired, a benefit, thanks, gratitude. A favor done without expectation of return; the absolutely free expression of the loving kindness of God to men finding its only motive in the bounty and benevolence of the Giver; unearned and unmerited favor. Cháris stands in direct antithesis to érga (2041), works, the two being mutually exclusive. God’s grace affects man’s sinfulness and not only forgives the repentant sinner, but brings joy and thankfulness to him. It changes the individual to a new creature without destroying his individuality (2 Cor. 5:17; Eph. 2:8, 9).

    Your Brother in Christ

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