What Is Grace?

by George L. Rogers


THE Greek word for "grace" is charis, and it is kindred to the word chara, joy. G. Campbell Morgan said, "Grace is that which gives joy. By the Greeks charis was used (1) of art, music, the beautiful, anything that gives joy; (2) of the desire to give joy to others. The word meant this before Christianity touched it. (3) Then it was used of both these things together, and (4) it is the activity that carries out the desire and actually gives joy. Predicate these mounting ideas of God. Grace is the desire in the heart of the blessed God to communicate His own joy to the hearts of others. Grace gladdens God. Grace is the passion of God to bless. Grace is the love of God seizing every opportunity to gladden the sinful and needful and graceless. Grace explains the mystery of the cross, for there grace took hold of sin and conquered and canceled it."

R. W. Dale's definition is worth remembering: "Grace is love which passes beyond all claims to love. It is love which after fulfilling the obligations imposed by law has still an unexhausted wealth of kindness."

J. H. Jowett said: "Grace is energy. Grace is love energy. Grace is a redeeming love energy ministering to the unlovely and endowing the unlovely with its loveliness."

And again, "Grace is the divine energy of holiness issuing in the ministry of love in quest of the unlovely, and by the communication of itself converting the unlovely into the lovely."

Alex Whyte said: "Grace from its nature has only one direction it can take. Grace always flows down. Grace is love indeed, but it is God's love to creatures who do not deserve His love. And thus it is that God's love to sinners is always called grace in the epistles. All He does for us in Christ, and all that is disclosed to us of His good will in the gospel is called grace. It has been designated 'the speech of infinite love'."

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