I very very simply define it as a gift from God, that we did not earn but we receive freely.
It is my daughter's middle name. It is what I have declared as the banner over my life. God's grace is evident in every thing I can think of that is me, or Him in me.
I am reading selected sermons of Jonathan Edwards. He says in what I am reading tonight...
"1. Of the grace of God. It was of mere grace that God gave us his only begotten Son. The grace is great in proportion to the dignity and excellency of what is given: the gift was infinitely precious, because it was a person infinitely worthy, a person of infinite glory; and also because it was a person infinitely near and dear to God."Grace can be measured in proportion to the value of what is given. There can be nothing of greater value to God, than the person of Jesus Christ, who is himself incarnate. That is a gift that is infinitely precious, infinitely worthy, infinite in glory. This One of infinite worth was freely given as a gift to us.
"The grace is great in proportion to the benefit we have given us in him: the benefit is doubly infinite, in that in him we have deliverance from an infinite, eternal misery; and do also receive eternal joy and glory."Grace can be measured in proportion to the benefit we receive from the gift. Can you think of a benefit greater than deliverance from infinite eternal misery, to eternal life and joy in his glory and presence!? I can think of no greater benefit that exists on the earth or in the heavens. It can be called the great exchange: to exchange eternal misery for eternal joy, to exchange eternal condemnation for the presence of eternal glory, to exchange eternal darkness for eternal light. The exchange is immense in it's benefit to us.
"The grace in great according to the manner of giving, or in proportion to the humiliation and expense of the method and means by which way is made for our having the gift. He gave him to us dwelling amongst us; he gave him to us incarnate, or in our nature; he gave him to us in our nature, in the like infirmities in which we have it in our fallen state... He gave him to us in a low and afflicted state; and not only so, but he gave him to us slain, that he might be a feast for our souls."
Grace can be measured in the manner of giving. If a gift arrives wrapped up in beautiful boxes and bows, covered in glitter and decked in jewels, does it make the gift of more value? Yet, how much more astonishing that this gift of infinite value, and infinite benefit to us, is packed in humility and wrapped in suffering. The most powerful, most omnipotent, most glorious being in the universe wrapped himself in humanity, laid down his power and left his place of glory and walked among us. The giver of grace became the gift of grace in the form of himself. And the gift arrives with no obligation attached. All we must do is receive it.
God was under no obligation to give the gift. In fact he could have rejected us completely. We have done absolutely nothing to deserve it. Yet it is given to us freely. Given before we even asked for it or when there was nothing in us worthy of its gifting. (Ephesians 2:8, Romans 5:8)
How could one ever exhaust the wonder of this grace? If you are able to truly comprehend the value of Him who was given for us, the benefit that we receive in the gift, and the manner of his giving, how could you ever turn your gaze from his beauty or tire in seeking to worship and give glory to His name?
And last but not least, once the grace has been poured out on you, how could one not tell others of the gift of his wondrous grace? It is what I will do with ever fiber of my being until he chooses to finally bestow the gift of his infinite grace upon me in its fullest form. I need nothing else. I long for no other thing. Until the day I stand before him face to face, I will never tire of telling of his magnificent grace!
(Thanks to my new activity on Twitter, I am inspired to take up writing on my blog again. I can not for the life of me say what I want to say in 140 stinking characters! LOL)