I live by the grace of God, and if not for His covenant with man,
I should most certainly perish!
Grace = a manifestation of favor, clemency, or pardon; manner or act (abstract or concrete; literal, figurative or spiritual); especially the divine influence upon the heart, and its reflection in the life; good will, loving-kindness, favour; of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues – In the Old Testament the meaning is the same.
Mercy = Kindness, loving-kindness
Favour = favour (favor) has the same root as grace, loving-kindness. It comes from the same word as mercy. In the Greek and in Old Testament it has the same meanings.
All of these biblical words have a common thread not expressed well in the meanings shown. They are given by the One in authority – GOD. Dictionaries give generic meanings and do not give meanings according to covenant relationships, but in the bible these words are spoken from that platform. As we view words from this platform of covenant the actual meanings somewhat change because of their application. Every promise and command in the bible and God’s commitment to us is based on covenant. Covenant always contains 3 parts for each party involved, commitment (commands or duties of covenant for each side), provision or promises, and consequences if covenant is broken. Our God is a “covenant” God. Therefore it is important not to see through the world’s eyes to interpret word meanings, but we must see through the eyes of God what is being said. The depth of the implication found in the meanings of words like grace, mercy and favor must be heard through covenant relationship/requirements and Holy Spirit.
In all these words there is a common connection, loving-kindness. Loving-kindness is the God side promise found in covenant. It has the intonation of “because I am God I will bestow upon you what is needed to keep you in covenant because you have said ‘yes’ to my offer to covenant with you”—that is “loving-kindness”. (Acceptance of Jesus the Christ as the atonement for having broken covenant, since man broke covenant with God and Jesus is the price paid by God for man to be able to “redeem” the covenant and make it right again). His love is expressed in kindness toward us while we were in sin and making a way for us to “know” (have an close dynamic, personal relationship with) Him.
The Greek meanings of the three words, grace, mercy and favor can be traced back to the Old Testament and the Hebrew (old Testament) words that have the same meanings as we have noted in the New Testament. If you go to the root word involved in all of these words in the Old Testament you find the word “Chesed” which is an interesting word as it is the word used in a covenant relationship. So you see that grace, mercy and favor (or favour) are very important to “being a Christ follower”. There is so much more than the definitions express in that they are used in a covenant expression in the Word. Covenant is never one-sided. In it each party involved has responsibility to the need/requirements of the covenant.
Grace is meaningless if there is no judgment. Mercy is not valid without accountability. Favor cannot exist if there is not justice. For covenant relationships to exist there must be honor, obedience, and sacrifice to the relationship. NO relationship exists without grace, mercy, and favor. These words are of utmost importance in life with God.
If we are to understand these 3 important much mis-used words grace, mercy, and favor, we will need to get away from the teaching that “knowing Jesus” costs you nothing. The Gospel is freely offered to ALL people but following Jesus is not free.
In Mt.10:8 Jesus tells His disciples (later called apostles) as he is sending them out to the Jewish nation, “freely you have received, freely give;
Mt 10:8 (NKJV) Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
We need to note in this passage, it is in being sent out to “DO” miracles and to preach that Jesus tells them this. So to “freely receive” the “grace” of God that empowers believers to walk naturally supernaturally, the cost is that you must freely give it to others. Previously verse 5 starts with “these twelve Jesus SENT out and COMMANDED… Grace is free, but there are stipulations and responsibilities to freedom. You do not have the right to do what you want, but you have the responsibility (to freedom) to do what is right.
Those mentioned in the bible that followed Jesus paid a heavy price to walk in Grace and Mercy—their lives. Jesus says that if we follow Him we will be hated, persecuted, rejected, etc. Where did we ever get that it would be easy and cost nothing? It is eternal and awesome but not free. Giving Mercy, Grace and Favor to us humans cost Father everything! David once said in response to recognition of his sin before God, and God’s grace toward him, “I will not offer to God anything that costs me nothing”. There is a thought; since God calls David a man after His own heart.
Grace, mercy and favor flow from the throne to man. These actions by God allow us to have a covenant relationship with Him. But they are also actions that hold us accountable to the relationship received through them. Life with God is offered freely to all through Jesus. Receiving His grace, mercy and favor should compel us to become willing to pay the cost for others; to receive grace, mercy, and favor.
Jesus is our intercessor and advocate before Father. He ever lives to stand before God for us. He continues to procure Father’s favor toward us.
Grace without righteousness, mercy without judgment, and favor without justice become cheap, their value diminished by a lack of reality as to the cost of giving them. If I value salvation by grace, I become responsible to it. I must live a life that shows I have received it.
In Father’s Hand, neil
All Scripture referenced are in the NKJV.