Years ago I found the concept of ‘grace’ difficult to understand clearly. Part of my confusion rested in different teachings of various teachers in the doctrine as well as practice of grace. People define it, connect it, compare it to the law, equate it with mercy, read into it, and sadly invoke what I call ‘worm theology’, accusation and guilt with it.
I remember distinctly an ‘aha’ moment on grace I had when I walked by a display of the Pentecost scene portraying the holy spirit as it was poured forth on the twelve apostles(Acts 2:40-47). On the display the word, ‘power’ was written over the tongues of fire. Right then and there I got it!‘ ‘Grace’ is what God has given us. God on that amazing day gave the opportunity to all who believed, to connect with Him and have bold access to the throne of grace, the source of all power.
And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart, Praising God, and having favour (‘charis’ Greek for grace) with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. Acts 2:46-47
When we truly recognize the power of God in our lives, it affects us. We change, we love and in those moments we don’t think about sin. We think about how great God is!
The first use of ‘grace’ is in connection to Noah. God bestowed grace on Noah. The earth had become corrupt and was ‘filled with violence’ (Genesis 6:11). God is not the author of evil, He is a God of justice and all that is right. Evil is destructive and destroys those committed to it. This breaks God’s heart. He created an earth to lavish His love on man, and man allowed evil to take over. Noah was an exception (Genesis 6:9) and God provided Noah with help in a time of need against the violent activity of men. He helped Noah build a boat so that he and his family would survive. I suppose the God of the universe could have spoken into being a fancy cruise liner and plopped it down in front of Noah and his family. Instead he taught him how to build it and gave him the information, power and stamina to complete the task. David had to build the boat!
Grace makes us strong. On the day of Pentecost God gave those who believe an amazing tool belt of power to provide strength. The book of Acts reveals some tough times that would assault the 1st century believers. As they applied the tools, strength replaced weakness in face of adversity. It was God’s grace that made them strong.