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Greek Word Study - Grace 2

Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord -- and why not? He was righteous, blameless, and he walked with God (Gen. 6:8-9). Joseph found grace in the eyes of Potiphar -- and why not? He was making Potiphar a wealthy man (Gen. 39:2-5). Ruth found grace in the eyes of Boaz -- and why not? She was a hard worker, and loyal to the old woman who was a relative of Boaz (Ruth 2:10-11).

Today we have found grace with God -- and why not? Are we not more righteous and blameless than most? Do we not walk into church, present our tithes, and make God wealthy? Are we not hard-working and loyal? Of course we find grace in the eyes of the Lord!

I suspect, however, that the N.T. concept of grace (charis - KAR iss) is only partially explained by these O.T. uses. Grace is favor and approval, to be sure, but the grace we receive from God is not earned or deserved. God pronounces us fit for heaven by the gift of his grace, not by the works we have done (Rom. 3:24). If God likes us (has grace toward us) because we deserve to be liked, it is not grace at all (Rom. 11:6).

So let’s go back to the O.T. once more to find an example of “finding grace” that comes closer to fitting the N.T. definition. In the time of the Exodus, God’s people were slaves in Egypt, despised and feared by their masters (Exod 1:9-11). Added to that, they were the reason for a series of disastrous plagues that brought pain and poverty to Egypt. There was nothing about the Jews to like; there was every reason to hate them. But God said, “I will grant this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians”; so the Jews left Egypt loaded with gifts! Sometimes favor is totally undeserved!

As we prepare to leave this life, headed for our Promised Land, let us also remember that our deliverance is a matter of God’s grace. In spite of ourselves, God has given us his favor in Christ Jesus. He likes us! By his grace we are saved through faith. It is not our doing -- it is the gift of God (Eph 2:8).