Tuesday, October 29, 2013

31 Days of Grace: A Theological Definition of Grace (Hopefully...)

31 Days of Grace
Day 29

Really, this should have been one of the first, if not the first post in this series.  I have wanted to badly to explore the theology of grace, but am so, so, so intimidated!  Talking about the practical aspects of grace is one thing.  Exploring deep biblical meanings that people have researched for years and some even argue over?  In-ti-mi-da-ting!  For realsies.

But, I've done some google searches.  And while most of them have left me with sweaty palms and an active bunch of butterflies in my stomach, this one makes sense to me.  This one I think I understand and am comfortable sharing (found here).

“We have to be on our guard against the supposition that grace is an abstract quality; it is an active personal principle, showing itself in our dealings with those by whom we are surrounded. … In the great proportion of passages in which the word grace is found in the New Testament, it signifies the unmerited operation of God in the heart of man, effected through the agency of the Holy Spirit. We have gradually come to speak of grace as an inherent quality in man, just as we talk of gifts; whereas it is in reality the communication of Divine goodness by the inworking of the Spirit, and through the medium of Him who is ‘full of grace and truth.’” — Robert Girdlestone, Synonyms of the Old Testament (London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1871), p. 179.

Did you catch that?  I'll just rephrase it how it spoke to me, as much for my benefit as for yours.

Grace is the demonstration of God's goodness, this demonstration shown by the work the Holy Spirit does in our hearts, a work only possible because of what Christ did on the cross.  

Theology is not one of my strong points.  Not in the least.  And maybe I paraphrased it completely wrong.  But, these words speak to me.  They speak the power of grace and the role of each member of the Trinity working grace within me.  Within me is the message of grace God hopes to share with the world: He is good, the Holy Spirit strengthens and sustains, and through Christ we can have access to this goodness, strength, and sustaining power.

Amen.

Did this definition help you understand grace a bit better?  Is there anything you might add? Or (gulp!) take away?

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